Imagine finding out five days after your drinking water was contaminated by a toxic spill that it was contaminated. Add to that a flimsy propaganda style excuse saying they didn’t have to let anyone know that it was contaminated. Would probably tick you off, right?
It did the citizens of Handan, China.
People in the city of 1.3 million people, located in the northern part of the country, are fuming mad and taking it to the streets to protest the country’s censorship policies. Just in time for Beijing’s new government who’s currently doing it’s job to increase censorship on Chinese websites and papers.
A chemical leak in the city of Changzhi, upstream from Handan, resulted in nine tons of the toxic chemical called aniline seeping into the water supply. Five days after the leak the water in Handan was abruptly turned off. The toxic levels of their water was 720 times above the legal consumption limit. This infuriated the citizens and when they asked the government why they weren’t told of the leak soon they were infuriated even more.
“We report in accordance with the procedures, we didn’t delay the report for five days. As long as the pollution is within the Changzhi boundary, it’s not necessary to report to the provincial government, we can deal with it on our own, we only need to report to the provincial government if the pollution goes out of Changzhi city. I’m not sure about the details.” came the reply from Wang Yiping, an official in Changzhi.
Apparently there’s thousands of incidents like this yearly in China and they generally aren’t heard of outside of the country. Which is pretty much what censorship aims to do, doesn’t it. Wonder if anyone outside of the country will hear about the people who get sick or died from this chemical leak and the delay in telling people who are affected by it? Censorship may prevail again. [ Source ]