Chinese netizens slam accident report that lauded officials

Beijing, Feb 4 (IANS) Chinese netizens have criticised a news story in which a total of 1,134 words in the 1,300-word report were dedicated to praising officials' efforts to direct rescue work following an accident.

A truck loaded with fireworks exploded in central China's Henan province Friday, causing an expressway viaduct to collapse. Ten people died and 11 were injured in the accident.

However, an online report on the accident carried by the Dahe Daily, one of the leading newspapers in Henan, was criticized by internet users for ignoring the victims, reported Xinhua.

A post on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, by user "Fan Wei" claimed that after a brief mention of the toll in the accident, a total of 1,134 words in the 1,300-word report were dedicated to complimentary descriptions of local officials' efforts to direct rescue work.

The report named 16 leading officials involved but did not refer to any specific casualties or their relatives.

The post was reposted over 20,000 times and drew more than 4,500 comments.

"It seems that the officials are the victims," joked Weibo user "Fanrongqiang".

"The officials were just doing what they should do, but whatever they do cannot save the victims' lives. Shame on this obsequious report," said another user "Liu_Su."

The report comes at a time when the top leaders of China's ruling party have vowed to reduce pomp and bureaucracy.

In a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee in December 2012, senior officials agreed to cut bureaucratic "empty words" in both official documents and news reports regarding the officials' work.

Reports on officials' activities should only be released when they are newsworthy, according to a statement at the meeting.

The officials' activities are not entirely insignificant, but media reports on such tragedies should be more objective and comprehensive, said an editorial in the Monday edition of the Beijing News.

The newspaper said flattering reports carried by official media reflect resilient "officialdom" that will make overhauling the officials' work style a difficult task.

On Monday, the Dahe Daily published a report on its website regarding the victims.

The report included the names of six of the 10 victims, as well as their ages and place of residence. It also included the names of the 11 injured and their current condition.

"Let's pray for the victims and wish the injured an early recovery," the report said.


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