Thursday, November 24, 2005

Earthquake Shake
Harbin is a city in northern China currently struggling with an enormous problem - no water and contaminated water. A chemical plant explosion upriver which fouled Harbin's water supply had the local government doing the usual PRC thing of panicking, reacting too late and baldly lying about and/or denying the problem.
As rumors and propaganda flew, canny residents quickly bought out the city's bottled water, pop, tea, coffee, milk, juice and canned soups supplies after an announcement that the H20 taps would dry up for 4 days so "tanks could be cleaned."
But among the rumors that preceded the shutdown was one that the water supply would cease because an earthquake had been predicted. As most of us know, earthquake forecasting is an uncertain work in progress (except apparently in China) but these rumors even had specific times for the impending disaster.
But while Harbin authorities mucked around with the real problem, they were quick to take decisive, swift action regarding loose quake talk.
From China News, a notice from the Harbin Earthquake Management Bureau:
"According to the Earthquake Prediction Management Regulations (State Council Order No. 255), earthquake prediction will be issued by the provincial level government in accordance with procedures. Any other organization, group, media, website or individuals (including experts) have no right to issue predictions to society. The masses should neither believe nor spread rumors about earthquakes.
''Anyone who hereafter manufactures and disseminates rumors of earthquakes to disrupt the normal order will be prosecuted under "Earthquake Prediction Management Regulations" article 19.''
Bet this has those rumormongers quaking in their counterfeited Nikes....
(Thanks to ESWN blog for this item)
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