Friday, February 01, 2008

China - Crushes at stations as frustration mounts

Guangzhou: an unconscious woman is carried to safety by police

Frustration has led to frightening crushes as waiting passengers surge to board trains in some towns in China. Today CNN showed disturbing pictures at Guangzhou station where hundreds of passengers surged towards a closed entrance with the belief it was open. Dozens were crushed and police were seen carrying away victims in pictures shot by Hong Kong Cable TV. Last night CCTV-9 discussed differences on the reporting of Western media with Chinese media. One point brought up was that Chinese media was generally upbeat and positive while CNN was deemed to be critical. It is true that CNN could be seen as critical, but has made attempt to show all sides of the story. It is a human interest story, and yesterday Hugh Riminton travelled with one young migrant worker to get a personal perspective of the problems they are facing. Andrew Stevens on the road in Anhui province gave a report last night Live via satellite in which he described the terrible conditions faced by drivers. The CNN team had travelled less than 30 miles in a little over 18 hours averaging 1.7 miles per hour. With 100 miles in front of them to Hefei they faced a potential journey time of at least 2 days [CNN]. Many people only had half a tank of fuel and very little food so the problems faced by many travellers were likely to increase as time went on. Today he spoke by phone and said he was unable to provide much information since he was very isolated and had not moved much further along the road. Some towns have been without power for several days and food was said to be in short supply in many rural areas. Chenzhou in Hunan province has had no electricity for 8 days and supplies are running low throughout the city according to local reports. With coal running out at power stations the government has even ordered ships exporting the valuable fuel to return to port. This has caused speculation that the current weather crisis may affect world markets. The continuing bad weather has already cost the Chinese economy an estimated $7.2 billion [CNN / BBC]. Besides offering a critical overview of events in China, CNN has at least provides in depth coverage of this important story. The BBC and Sky have barely touched on the story with only a few seconds reporting given to the ongoing situation. Today Sky News coverage extended only to a 20 second item while the BBC showed nothing in its midday news.

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