Archive for the ‘quake’ Category

China: Human Activity May Have Increased Earthquake Severity

February 4, 2009

Pressure from a dam, its reservoir’s heavy waters weighing on geologic fault lines, may have helped trigger China’s devastating earthquake last May, some scientists say, in a finding that suggests human activity played a role in the disaster.

The magnitude-7.9 quake in Sichuan province was China’s worst in a generation, causing 70,000 deaths and leaving 5 million homeless. Just 550 yards (meters) from the fault line and 3.5 miles (5.5 kilometers) from the epicenter stands the 511-foot-high (156-meter-high) Zipingpu dam, the area’s largest. The quake cracked Zipingpu, forcing the reservoir to be drained.

By CHI-CHI ZHANG, Associate Press Writer

Fan Xiao, a chief engineer at the Sichuan Geology and Mineral Bureau, said Wednesday that the immense weight of Zipingpu’s waters — 315 million tons — likely affected the timing and magnitude of the quake. Though earthquakes are not rare in the area, one of such magnitude had not occurred for thousands of years, Fan said.

“I’m not saying the earthquake would not have happened without the dam, but the presence of the massive Zipingpu dam may have changed the size or time of the quake, thus creating a more violent quake,” Fan said in a telephone interview.

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China: Redefining “Superpower” to Mean Economic and Military Strength Without Human Rights

January 2, 2009

Human rights abuses, kangaroo courts, poor safety standards and a seeminingly callous disregard for human life in China means that this great nation is redefining the word “superpower.”

The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s religious leader, pointed this out in Europe early in December 2008, but few paid much attention.

China lacks the moral authority, including over the question of Tibet, to be a true superpower, the Dalai Lama said. 

“Because of its very poor record on human rights and religious freedom and freedom of expression and freedom of the press — too much censorship — the image of China in the field of moral authority is very, very poor,” he said.

“The sensible Chinese realize China should now pay more attention in this field in order to get more respect from the rest of the world,” the Nobel peace laureate said.

Ever wonder why so many schoolchildren were killed in last year’s earthquakes in China?  The schools were built poorly, so poorly that they collapsed upon the first quake.  Many were poorly built because of goernment corruption: the builders paid communist officials to ignore poor building practices and shoddy materials.

Why does China have such a high number of deaths in mining?  Because mine safety standard are very weak and regulation and inspection is worse — where they exist at all.

So how does China hope to gain this superpower status?  By emulating the actions of a superpower, of course.

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Chinese ... 
In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Hu Jintao, center, Premier Wen Jiabao, 4th left, and other Chinese top leaders attend a New Year tea party hosted by the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing on Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009. From left are, Zhou Yongkang, Li Keqiang, Li Changchun, Wen, Hu, , Wu Bangguo, Jia Qinglin, Xi Jinping and He Guoqiang.(AP Photo/Xinhua, Liu Weibing)

China is expanding its military and has grown to own much of the U.S. in terms of property and wealth and American debt.

File photo shows Chinese amphibious tanks and marines storming ...
China proving here it is a superpower and master of Taiwan.  File photo shows Chinese amphibious tanks and marines storming a beachhead in an amphibious assault drill in China’s Shandong Peninsula. (AFP/Xinhua/File)But some of those “human rights” and “moral authority” issues discussed by the Dalai Lama are foreign and indecernable to the Chinese.

China’s recent poisoned milk scandal and the subsequent trial of  Tian Wenhua, chairwoman of the now-bankrupt Sanlu Group, are good examples.

Melamine is poisonous.  Sanlu put melamine into milk.  For the Chinese government, case closed.

Except in China, workers put melamine into all kinds of food products for years.

Melamine, which is poisonous to humans in great enough concentrations, had been routinely mixed into food products in China for years — and other similar tainted substances for decades. 

“Many companies buy melamine scrap to make animal feed, such as fish feed,” said Ji Denghui, general manager of the Fujian Sanming Dinghui Chemical Company, which sells melamine. “I don’t know if there’s a regulation on it. Probably not. No law or regulation says ‘don’t do it,’ so everyone’s doing it. The laws in China are like that, aren’t they? If there’s no accident, there won’t be any regulation.”

Ji Denghui made that statement in 2007 to New York Times reporters  David Barboza and Alexei Barrionuevo.

China is able to get away with this kind of callous disregard for truth, honesty and its own citizens because the government controls the media, the legal system, and everything else.  The people only “vote” for representatives selected by the communist government which works tirelessly to stay in power by keeping order — not by obeying the kinds of basic laws and rules for human dignity most Westerners would expect — and take for granted.

John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Soldiers of Chinese navy special force attend an anti-piracy ... 
Soldiers of Chinese navy special force attend an anti-piracy drill on the deck of DDG-171 Haikou destroyer in Sanya, Hainan province December 25, 2008 in this photo released by China’s official Xinhua News Agency. The fleet – two destroyers and a supply ship – would have about 800 crew, including 70 special operations troops and will join in the multi-national patrolling of the Gulf of Aden and waters off the coast of Somalia, the official Xinhua news agency said. Picture taken December 25, 2008. REUTERS/Xinhua/Cha Chunming

100-yuan notes are counted at a bank in Shanghai. The US Treasury ...


 China Poisoned Food, Children Died; “Show Trials,” Punishment for Innocent Next?

2008: China Hoped Only For Olympic Glory; Wound Up with Chaos in Tibet, Earthquake, Troubles

December 28, 2008

The year 2008 promised China just one big event, but instead of one, the country got four.

2008 was meant to be all about the Beijing Olympics – the giant sports day that this country had been planning for more than a decade.

But in March came big event number one, and it had nothing to do with sport.

By James Reynolds
BBC News, Beijing

In the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, Tibetan monks demonstrated on the anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s escape into exile in 1959.

These protests escalated into the biggest disturbances in Tibet for more than 20 years.

The demonstrations brought into relief the profoundly different ways in which Tibet is seen by China and the West.

For China, Tibet is an inalienable part of the Chinese motherland which has been transformed from a medieval, feudal backwater into a more equal society.

For many in the West, the people of Tibet are occupied and oppressed by a hostile country which denies Tibetans the freedom of worship.

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China, Corruption and Petty Inhumanity

December 26, 2008

Shortly after China’s devastating May 12 earthquake, which killed nearly 70,000 people, I was intrigued by a terse Xinhua News Agency report. The Communist Party secretary of Unity Village, Liu Dingshuang, had been sacked within days of the quake for “dereliction of duty.” I figured there was more to this story, so in early June I tracked Liu down. (He’s not a relative.)

By Melinda Liu

Only a handful of residents in Unity had died. But so many buildings were damaged that, wandering through the destruction, I felt as if I’d stumbled into a post-apocalypse movie. One family welcomed me into their kitchen, which had gaping holes in the roof and a motorcycle parked near the stove. While chatting, villagers revealed that neighbor Zhang Mingzhi had blown the whistle on Liu by making a phone call to the party’s powerful Discipline and Inspection Commission, which probes official corruption. At Zhang’s equally ramshackle home, he said he became angry after hearing neighbors talk of being overcharged for mineral water, soft drinks and toothpaste at Liu’s family store. “If you’re a party cadre, you’re supposed to show leadership,” he said. “People saw Premier Wen Jiabao rush to Sichuan. He even shed tears in public. But here nobody saw Liu.”

When two investigators arrived in Unity on May 15, more than 20 villagers complained about Liu. Farmer Li Daogang told them Liu’s daughter had overcharged him by 20 percent for six bottles of Sprite. “I thought, ‘If things are like this everywhere in the quake zone, then this whole country is a mess’,” Li told me. That very evening, Liu was fired.

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Seven Months After Quake, China Says Many Schools Were “Totally Unsafe”

December 26, 2008

China said Friday many of its schools were structurally unsafe more than seven months after a devastating earthquake, centered on southwestern Sichuan province, killed thousands of children under collapsed school buildings.


About 33.58 million square meters, or 13 square miles, of primary and middle schools had safety problems, state media quoted Lu Yongxiang, vice-chairman of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, as saying.

This was 2.5 percent of the country’s total school buildings, or the equivalent to 134 Bird’s Nest stadiums in floorspace, he said, referring to the showcase stadium at the Beijing Summer Olympics.

“About 90 percent of the dilapidated houses are in the country’s central and western parts,” Lu was quoted by China Daily as saying.

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