Archive for the Journalism Category

“Ten years after SARS, what has China learned?” – H7N9 bird flu appears in 2013 [Xinhua]

Posted in China, Journalism on April 5, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Xinhua writer Wang Aihua

BEIJING, April 3 (Xinhua) — The news of two men [as of article’s release] dying from a new variant of bird flu has reminded Chinese of the SARS pandemic that hit the country one decade ago. Many are wondering if the government will handle the situation any better than it did in 2003, should another pandemic break out.

For many Chinese, the spring of 2003 was marked by the appearance of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which took the lives of several hundred people on the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Now, on the 10th anniversary of the pandemic, fear is spreading following reports of two Shanghai men who died from H7N9 avian influenza, a strain that has not previously been detected in humans.

That fear was aggravated this week after four more patients in neighboring Jiangsu Province were confirmed to have contracted the virus. All four are in critical condition.

But it is not necessarily the diseases themselves that have stoked fear, but also the way the government has handled them. The way information is made public, the way public health is monitored and the ways in which people observe sanitary guidelines are all under scrutiny.

As dangerous and new as SARS was, it was the government and people who made the disease more serious. The government, in particular, was criticized for failing to alert the public in a timely fashion. People in south China, where the disease originated, were blamed for eating rare animals that were found to be carrying the disease.

It may be an exaggeration to compare the H7N9 bird flu to SARS, as the former has yet to show signs of human-to-human transmission. But with a possible public health crisis looming, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Health authorities have demonstrated some positive signs regarding their ability to deal with the disease. Public health departments across the country have announced that they will monitor the disease closely.

However, authorities need to make persistent efforts to satisfy people who have become much more aware of their right to knowledge regarding public health issues.

Although the government learned a great deal from the SARS outbreak, it still demonstrates signs of immaturity. The Shanghai government has been singled out for not notifying the public about the two H7N9 deaths until nearly half a month after the deaths occurred.

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2013-04/03/c_132283144.htm

The city also failed to provide details regarding 14,000 dead pigs that have been discovered floating on the Huangpu River in recent months. The river is a major source of Shanghai’s drinking water.

Although the municipal government has told its residents not to worry about the quality of their drinking water, it has failed to reply to queries about the origin of the pigs and how they ended up in the river without being discovered.

Since the bird flu cases occurred in the same city and its adjacent regions shortly after the pigs were spotted, theories about possible connections between the two have arisen.

Although authorities in Shanghai said this week that no bird flu virus was detected from samples of dead pigs taken from the river, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it has not ruled out pigs as the carrier of the disease.

The farmers responsible for dumping the pigs should not escape blame. The pigs were reportedly dumped in the river by farmers from nearby Zhejiang Province, as the farmers were unable to sell the dead pigs to unscrupulous “meat processors” after local police cracked down on such activities.

Although the government does provide compensation for farmers whose animals perish, such compensation is only provided to large-scale farmers, who represent a fraction of China’s agricultural industry.

The fragmented nature of the agricultural sector also makes regulation difficult to enforce, as multiple food safety scandals have demonstrated in recent years.

If there is anything that SARS has taught China and its government, it’s that one cannot be too careful or too honest when it comes to deadly pandemics. The last 10 years have taught the government a lot, but it is far from enough.

Journalists rebel in Guangzhou as right wing in China raises its voice [Workers World]

Posted in Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, China, Corporate Media Critique, Corruption, CPC, Deng Xiaoping, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Journalism, Mao Zedong, Marx, Reform and opening up, Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, Special Economic Zones, Taiwan, USSR on January 29, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

I am posting this article as an alternative to the capitalist press regarding the recent censorship kerfluffle at ‘Southern Weekend’ in China. I am totally grossed out by pork sausage/dandruff shampoo/toothpaste-shill Yao Chen quoting Solzhenitsyn on her blog in response to that as reported here. I am obligated to reprint the article entire, and at this time will restate my blog’s caveat that posting does not constitute full endorsement of the opinions expressed by the writer. – Zuo Shou

by Fred Goldstein

Jan. 14, 2013

Those in China who advocate bourgeois democracy, deepening capitalist reforms and opening up further to imperialism staged a journalists’ rebellion the first week of January at the nationally circulated magazine Southern Weekend, based in Guangzhou. Guangzhou, which is across the bay from Hong Kong, is the capital of Guangdong province, the stronghold of capitalism in China.

The mini-rebellion took the form of a near strike and protest when the Propaganda Department of the Guangdong branch of the Chinese Communist Party intervened at the last minute to prevent a New Year’s editorial from going to press.

The editorial, which was severely modified by the authorities, was entitled “My Dream, the Dream of Constitutionalism.” While the English translation has not been published in any of the Western media, numerous sources reported it stressed “political reform.”

In the context of the present-day political struggle in China, “political reform” is code for creating openings for the bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeois intelligentsia to organize politically, either through the governmental electoral process, within the party, or both.

In fact, one of the few practical applications of “political reform” took place in Guangdong on an experimental basis under the guidance of its previous “reform” leader, Wang Yan. Wang preached democracy — but the class orientation of his democracy was illustrated by an experimental local election he authorized in the city of Dudan in September 2011. Fewer than 7,000 local inhabitants were reportedly allowed to vote, while 60,000 sweatshop workers who had immigrated from other Chinese provinces were disenfranchised. (The Economist, Nov. 26, 2011)

The Southern Weekend, with a circulation of 1.6 million, has been a leading voice for bourgeois liberalism in China. The confrontation of the editors and sections of the staff with the CCP became a cause célèbre of the right. Demonstrations were organized for “democracy,” “freedom of the press” and political reform.

* Protesters hail Tiananmen Square *

This incident served as a message and a challenge from the right to the incoming leader of the CCP, Xi Jingping, who will become China’s president in March.

The capitalist media swung immediately behind the protest. The Financial Times of Jan. 11 reported: “‘This feels exactly like the beginning of [the Tiananmen student movement in] 1989,’ said Yu Gang, a 44-year-old democracy campaigner who took part in the Tiananmen protests. He made pro-democracy speeches outside the Southern Weekend headquarters until police broke up the protest on Thursday.” A pro-Mao counter-demonstration also took place.

The right-wing blogosphere went into gear as well. A nationally known movie actor went one step beyond raising the 1989 counter-revolutionary uprising at Tiananman Square. Yao Chen, who has the the country’s most-followed Twitter-like microblog, quoted Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s saying that “One word of truth outweighs the whole world.”

The Financial Times continued, “Ms Yao sent the former Soviet dissident’s words with the logo of Southern Weekend, the paper respected as the vanguard of Chinese investigative journalism and for its probing stories but now involved in a rare open fight with censors. Her post marks a warning to China’s new leadership under Xi Jinping, the new Communist party chief who took over from Hu Jintao in November..” (Financial Times, Jan. 11, 2013)

Solzhenitsyn was a counter-revolutionary novelist in the USSR who depicted the tsar’s family in a sympathetic light in his book “1914.” Even war criminal Henry Kissinger once described him as “to the right of the czar.” He was jailed by Soviet authorities and eventually given a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970. He is identified with the overthrow of socialism in the USSR.

* Xi’s trip to Shenzen heartens the right *

Following the protest, an open letter in defense of Southern Weekend and signed by 16 reactionary professors, authors and journalists from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan was addressed to the Guangdong Provincial Party Committee. It demanded the dismissal of the official they claimed was responsible for censorship.

The letter was a virtual manifesto which referred to the trip made by Xi to Shenzen in Guangdong province in December of last year — his first trip after being elected the new head of the CCP. The trip was a replica of one made by Deng Xiaoping in 1992 on his “southern tour” to promote the further opening up to capitalism and imperialism, under the slogan “opening up and reform.” That trip led to the rapid development of Guangdong province as an export/sweatshop center of China. On his recent trip, Xi laid a wreath dedicated to Deng and promised to pursue “reform” and “opening up.”

This trip undoubtedly strengthened the right and was probably partly responsible for the brazen challenge by the Southern Weekend group.

The China Media Project, based in Hong Kong, wrote on Jan. 7: “In China today, the lingering sense of rise and regeneration relies to a great extent on Guangdong. For Xi as for Deng before him, southern tours marked great events that began in Guangdong. The entire nation, and people both here at home and overseas, regards Guangdong as the most crucial touchstone of reform and opening. The power of this one province ripples across our whole country, and the contributions of Southern Weekly are an undeniable part of that.”

The manifesto ended with praise for the magazine as “one of the country’s top groups … closely connected with the current of reform and the spirit of opening up” and condemned the propaganda official, asking if he “did not harbor such hostility for reform and opening, would things have come to this point.”

But these mouthpieces for the bourgeoisie have things completely backwards. If the reactionaries of Southern Weekend were not so fervently dedicated to the deepening of capitalism, widening imperialist penetration and promoting political openings for the bourgeoisie, if they had not made such a brazen move to test the Xi leadership, then would things ever “have come to this point”?

* Challenge to Xi *

Until now the magazine has harassed the government with exposures of abuses of workers, damage to the environment and official corruption. Thus, it has curried favor with the populace, using progressive exposures to foster its reactionary program of undermining the CCP from the right.

Because of the CCP’s policy of so-called “market socialism,” permitting capitalist development, violation of workers’ rights, corruption and the growth of the very capitalist class championed by Southern Weekend, the party is vulnerable to justifiable criticism. The right wing collects the grievances of the masses and uses them as a battering ram against the party.

But with the New Year’s message, the right wing went over the line. Southern Weekend has been under heavy censorship from party propaganda authorities because of its openly bourgeois liberalism. The magazine, according to most accounts, has been adept at pushing a right-wing line without making any major confrontational challenges to the party. But this time they upped the ante.

The right surfaced for the moment. The dispute spread to Beijing News. A web publication run by a party official was shut down for backing the right wing. A Confucian grouping issued a reactionary manifesto.

* Bo Xilai and defeat of the Chongqing model *

At this point it is necessary to put this struggle in the context of the suppression of Bo Xilai. Bo was the head of Chongqing province. The struggle against him was popularly regarded, on one level, as one between the Chongqing model and the Guangdong model.

Bo had promoted state economic development as the instrument for achieving the welfare of the masses. He built quality, low-cost housing for the workers. He increased social benefits. He made it easier for the rural population to obtain urban status and the benefits that come with that. He waged a campaign against the axis between corrupt party officials and capitalists with criminal elements.

Bo also promoted Maoist culture, songs and sayings, and shifted Chongqing television from a commercial station to a public station. This station was nationally broadcast and allowed an egalitarian message to get wide exposure, such as the message of “Red GDP” — development through state investment, rather than private investment, that gives greater priority to the welfare of the masses.

The Guangdong model, by contrast, emphasized economic development, mainly by capitalist means and relying on exports. The social rights of millions of immigrant workers from the interior of the country took a back seat. In general, the bourgeois spirit is dominant in the Guangdong model.

The detention of Bo last spring and vilification of the Chongqing model represented a defeat for the left within the framework of the party leadership. It represented a victory for the Guangdong model, the model promoted by Southern Weekend and its bourgeois allies. The victory was achieved by a bloc of the center and the right. Now that the challenge from the left has been temporarily suppressed, the right wing has gained confidence and courage.

This is not to say that the Southern Weekend incident represents any serious immediate threat to the party. But it represents a future danger and has brought to the surface a thoroughly reactionary current that, despite its limited numbers, occupies strategic positions in the media, the universities, communications and, of course, business.

It should be noted that when Bo was detained and his spouse, Gu Kailai, put through a show trial, these forces made no defense of the democratic rights of these leaders.

* Political contradictions of ‘market socialism’ *

There are many contradictions to so-called “market socialism” or “socialism with Chinese characteristics,” as it is euphemistically referred to by the leadership. The principal one, which is developing irresistibly, is the contradiction between economics and politics.

The mainstream of the top party leadership is trying to hold on to the socialist side of the economy: the state-owned enterprises, economic planning through “guidance,” and development and control of the commanding heights and strategic sectors of the economy. This is what has enabled the Chinese economy to weather the world capitalist crisis so far and continue its forward development. This is presumably the “socialist” side of the “socialist market economy.”

On the “market” side, the party has promoted the private sector, allowed private money to penetrate the public sector, and let the imperialists have a significant presence in the economy. It has let the rights of the working class that should be guaranteed under socialism go by the boards in the interest of economic development through capitalism, and has made many other economic concessions.

This has led to the growth of a capitalist class and the equally dangerous growth of a capitalist-minded petty bourgeois elite that is spread throughout the professions. This stratum provides mouthpieces for the bourgeoisie, promoting its ideology and its political interests.

As long as the CCP leadership promotes the capitalist market, which is diametrically opposed to socialism, the spirit of capitalism will continue to pervade society. It is in the very nature of the bourgeoisie, of capital, to expand. This not only manifests itself on the enterprise level as a desire to expand profits and accumulation. It also expresses itself on a class level, as a desire to expand its political influence commensurate with its economic development.

Both the state and the private sectors have grown in the last decade. Which has grown the stronger is a matter of dispute. But what is indisputable is the growth of the corporate and financial bourgeoisie.

In this latest dispute, one publication loyal to the party line warned the authorities at Southern Weekly that there is “no special political zone.” This refers to the special capitalist economic zones in Guangdong.

Here is where the problem lies. You cannot give the bourgeoisie more and more special economic zones without them demanding commensurate political influence. Marxists know that politics is concentrated economics. The economics of the bourgeoisie leads inevitably in the direction of trying to transform China’s political structure into a bourgeois political democracy.

Only a thoroughgoing return to proletarian democracy and the political, economic and social empowerment of the workers, as envisaged by Mao and his collaborators, can put an end to the political grasping by the bourgeoisie.
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Articles copyright 1995-2013 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/2013/01/14/journalists-rebellion-in-guangzhou-as-right-wing-in-china-raises-its-voice/

Western press runs amok with hearsay reporting in Bo case [Sunday Guardian]

Posted in Anti-China media bias, China, Corporate Media Critique, Corruption, Journalism, Law enforcement, Media smear campaign, U.K. on May 1, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Jonathan Mirsky LONDON | 29th Apr

[Excerpted]

The [alleged] murder in a Chinese hotel of a British businessman, Neil Heywood, the absence of an autopsy, his immediate cremation, his alleged murder by the wife of one of the most powerful political figures in China, the son of the couple badly behaved at one of England’s top public schools and Oxford, the disclosure of the murder to American diplomats by a senior Chinese policeman, the British Prime Minister telling a Chinese Politburo member that China must investigate the murder…What a story!

But this story is a farrago of innuendo and the absence of evidence…

…A casual look at how Western newspapers have treated the Bo-Gu-Heywood story reveals the universal use of “sources say”, “officials say”, “friends say”, with a nearly complete lack of names or proof. No reputable paper would dare to suggest in this manner if the supposed events, a possible murder, had occurred in the United States or Britain. What we have here is journalistic corruption of the highest — or lowest — order.

Full article link: http://www.sunday-guardian.com/investigation/western-press-runs-amok-with-hearsay-reporting-in-bo-case

US media hypes ‘cyber Cold War’ [People’s Daily]

Posted in Capitalist media double standard, China, China-bashing, Corporate Media Critique, Journalism, Psychological warfare, Russia, Sinophobia, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, vs. Google on January 1, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Wang Tian

Dec. 20, 2011

Edited and translated by People’s Daily Online

A Dec. 14 report by Bloomberg claimed that the networks of at least 760 companies, research universities, Internet service providers and government agencies in the United States have been hit by the same elite group of China-based cyber spies over the last decade.

The companies range from some of the largest corporations such as Google and Intel to niche innovators in sectors like aerospace, semiconductors, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, according to intelligence data obtained by Bloomberg News.

The report said that China-based hackers might have used the networks of iBahn, a U.S.-based provider of Internet services to hotels, as a launching pad into corporate networks that are connected to it, in order to steal company secrets. Bloomberg called it the “Cyber Cold War” in the sensational report.

* US accusations lack evidence *

The Associated Press said in a recent report that most of the China-based cyber attacks stealing critical data from U.S. companies and government agencies were committed by 12 different hacker groups, largely “backed or directed by” the Chinese government, according to U.S. cyber security experts.

The Associated Press added that the “aggressive but stealthy attacks” by China-based hackers have stolen billions of dollars in U.S. intellectual property and data, and U.S. officials at times can tell where the hackers are and even who they may be according to certain “distinct signatures” of their attacks.

The article said U.S. intelligence officials alleged cyber attacks from China were escalating, but “it was difficult to provide” relevant “evidence.” The article also said U.S. government officials were reluctant to link these cyber attacks with the Chinese government directly, but privately officials and experts generally expressed that they believed the hackers were related to the Chinese government or military. Some American cyber-security experts criticized the U.S. government’s failure to put enough pressure on China to force it to trace hackers.

U.S. National Counterintelligence Executive Office opened a report submitted to Congress titled “Foreign Spies Stealing U.S. Economic Secrets in Cyberspace” on Nov. 3, alleging by name that China and Russia had stolen a lot of value U.S. economic secretes via the internet in the past two years, which has created “increasingly serious and persistent threat” to U.S. economic security.

China and Russia were “the most ambitious collectors” of U.S. economic information and technology, mainly targeting the U.S. economy’s key sectors, such as information and military technology, according to the report.

The report particularly alleged that China was “the world’s most active and most lasting economic espionage criminal” and “U.S. private companies and cyber-security experts have once reported computer network intrusion attacks from China” but “cannot confirm who should be responsible for that.”

The report predicted that what may be “stolen” in the future would possibly be information and communication technology; business information on scarce natural resource suppliers or important business information in U.S. enterprise and government negotiations; and military technology, particularly technologies in marine systems, unmanned aerial vehicles and other aerospace, civil or multi-purpose technology in clean energy and pharmaceutical sectors.

China also victim of overseas hacker attacks

Some people abroad are fond of making rumors about cyber espionage, but what they say is groundless, a spokesman with China’s foreign ministry said in response to the accusation.

The Chinese government opposes and forbids any kind of hacker attacks. It is expressly stipulated in China’s laws that any related network crime would be investigated for criminal responsibilities in accordance with the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China.

China’s vulnerable network is a victim of major overseas hacker attacks and is frequently subject to illegal hacking and attacks from certain countries. Ensuring information and network security is a common interest for all of the countries. China is committed to guarding information and network security together with the international community via mutually beneficial cooperation on an equal footing.

The spokesman also pointed out that there is another problem we should pay more attention to, i.e. certain countries are keen on improving their capabilities in the so-called cyber armament race. It has become a top priority for the international community to find a way to prevent the information and network space from turning into a new battleground, but to guard its peace and make it be truly used to promote social economic development and human welfare. The International Code on Information Security jointly proposed by China, Russia and other countries, aims to drive the international community to establish a peaceful, safe, fair and open information and network space.

Article link: http://english.people.com.cn/90780/7681649.html

Fact Checking NYT’s Qi Chonghuai Jailed Journalist Story [Hidden Harmonies China Blog]

Posted in Anti-China media bias, Anti-China propaganda exposure, Capitalist media double standard, China, China-bashing, Corporate Media Critique, Journalism, New York Times lie on August 9, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Charles Liu

August 1, 2011

Recently New York Times published a story on a jailed Chinese journalist Qi Chonghuai, and made some fairly severe, usual allegations (corruption, official misconduct, torture), and a new one – double jeopardy violation in resentencing Qi to more jail time for the crime he served 4 years already, because he vowed to continue to expose official graft.

Since it was written by Andrew Jacobs (someone I consider to be the grand [slanderer] of NYT’s China reporting), and given NYT’s past record of biased reporting when it comes to China, I decided to dig into this story for details that might have been suppressed. Guess what?

1) Let’s get the biggie out of the way – Chinese netters have confirmed Qi Chonghuai was convicted of raping a 10-year old girl in 1986. Does that sound like a righteous crusader to you? It appears Jacobs didn’t bother to look into Qi’s felonious past, only to regurgitate claims made by US government funded group HRIC without questioning their veracity…

* [for documentation of claim, refer to HH’s original article]

2) Jacobs reported Qi Chonghuai’s recent trial constituted violation of double jeopardy. However according to case detail posted by Qi’s defense lawyer, Qi’s recent trial was not based on previously convicted crime, but due to a new victim coming forward earlier this year to report his case of extortion Qi committed in 2006… *

3) Jacobs also reported Qi Chonghuai was arrested after writing story exposing the lavish government office built by Tengzhou City officials on state-run media. But according to Chinese bloggers familiar with the case, Qi never wrote for any state-run media. Qi merely posted rumors on XinhuaNet and Tanya discussion forums (anyone can register and post) that were subsequently mentioned by the media… *

4) Does that sound like a legitmate reporter, posting on discussion forums? According to investigation of the 2007 case, Qi Chonghuau’s only journalist connection is he operated a website chinalegalnews.com that claimed to be connected to a parent site legaldaily.com.cn. However according to Legal Daily website operator Yuan Chenbeng (袁成本), “Legal Daily” folded and became “Legal Daily Weekender” in October 2006, and Qi’s work permit was withdrawn. In [other words] Jacobs ignored the fact at the time of Qi’s arrest he was at a minimum using expired reporter credential[s]… *

5) Even Qi Chonghuai’s defense lawyer admits Qi took money (Qi’s racket was hint[ing] at [receiving bribes] in exchange for not starting on-line rumor mongoring [sic] campaigns)… *

Edited by Zuo Shou

Full article with documentation here: http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2011/08/fact-checking-nyts-qi-chonghuai-jailed-journalist-story/

People’s Daily website revamps English version [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, CPC, Journalism on August 7, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Wen Sheng (People’s Daily Online)
August 04, 2011

The English version of the people.com.cn, the website of China’s most important newspaper The People’s Daily, took on a new look on Aug. 4, 2011. The restructuring is aimed at better serving the vast amounts of readers at home and abroad.

The managing board of the website said the facelift of the English-language sub-site would assist readers in browsing for information about China, a country that has a population of more than 1.3 billion as well as a distinctive and formidable culture and an economy that is growing at a faster rate than any other in the world.

A major feature of the facelift is that the new English website will place significant emphasis on opinions, including editorials of The People’s Daily, the flagship newspaper of the ruling Communist Party of China , commentaries of other mass-circulation Chinese news organizations and observations of prominent China watchers and academicians.

The People’s Daily website is duty-bound to introduce China’s policies and the Chinese people’s thoughts — “the views and visions about both China and the world” — to all foreigners who have interest in China. The Chinese version of the website is conspicuous among sites for giving extraordinary ink to reportage of opinions, too.

And, as the most authoritative news organization in the country, the revised site will cover activities and speeches of China’s top leadership from all dimensions. Through the above reports, it is hoped that the foreign readers are able to get a clearer grasp of where China is headed.

Other key changes include new columns on China’s defense construction and its foreign affairs policies, two areas that have drawn rising interest among foreign readers. And, the new China Features stories will give readers a lively grasp of Chinese people’s current life.

The new website will strive to draw feedback from readers by putting the most thought-provoking opinions online in a timely fashion. Only through lively interactions with the readers, can the new website accelerate in its reportage and make progress.

As the new site is on a trial run, the readers might encounter some problems browsing it. They are asked to kindly email the site their problems, and the site will be grateful for their effort.

Article link: http://english.people.com.cn/90882/7560758.html

China needs zero tolerance for concealing major accidents – Bohai Bay oil spill reported 31 days after event [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Corruption, Dalian, Journalism, Oil spill on July 10, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

July 8, 2011

The goal of “zero accidents” may be unachievable, but a policy of zero tolerance can certainly be imposed on the concealment or delay of reporting major accidents.

A recent oil spill polluted more than 840 square kilometers of first grade clean water in the Bohai Bay, an area almost the size of a city. The quality of water in the spill area is now at the worst level on China’s four-grade pollution scale.

The State Oceanic Administration released an investigative report on the preliminary impact of the oil leak from the Penglai 19-3 oilfield partially owned by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation, known as CNOOC, on July 5, 31 days after the oil spill was detected on June 4.

Although CNOOC said it did not conceal the accident, delay of more than one month has reflected its lack of social and environmental responsibility as well as its neglect of the public’s right to know and to supervise.

China’s law on marine environmental protection specifies that any major accident must be immediately reported to individuals and entities that may be subject to dangers. After the oil spill occurred, the CNOOC hid the truth from the media and the public and deleted Internet posts that exposed the accident. It failed to release information about the degree of pollution of the water or aquatic products as well as the negative effects of the spill on human health even when it was asked to, let alone taking the initiative to report it to local fishermen and the public.

Although we have repeatedly stressed the importance of security, it is very difficult to achieve “zero accidents” in many fields, including oil spills. Therefore, it is particularly important to report accidents in a timely manner. It is understandable if accidents are caused by “complicated reasons” or even an “unexpected” situation. However, concealing accidents is entirely a human factor, which is quite different in nature.

Providing timely information on emergencies and public events has basically become a consensus in recent years. However, some large-scale enterprises are still deficient in information disclosure, such as oil spills in the Dalian Xingang oil port and the pollution incident of the Zijin Mining Group in July 2010. There are very simple interest considerations behind the behavior of concealing accidents. First, the disclosure of accidents will cause the share price [to] decline, which will lead to huge direct losses. Second, the profit of concealing accidents or disguising a major accident as a minor one is very amazing.

“We cannot draw accurate conclusions in a relatively short period of time,” said related authorities when explaining the one-month “delay.” However, netizens disclosed the accident on microblogs as early as June 21, which aroused great concerns from all walks of life. As a result, rumors are widely reported. It is not conducive to clear the air and may intensify the situation if related management agencies blindly ignore rumors…

…In response to public opinion, many enterprises and even some government organs have adopted “ostrich or sheep flock tactics” over recent years. They buried their heads in the sand like an ostrich in face of public opinion in hopes to appear again over time.

When they had to face public opinions, they just told “young sheep” to make some explanations while keeping “senior sheep” behind the scene. Such tactics are simply irresponsible. In fact, these tactics serve no purpose in the information era and will only eventually imperil immediate public interests, affect long-term development of enterprises and damage invisible assets of government organs. It is worth reflecting on such negative consequences.

By He Yong from People’s Daily, and the article is translated by People’s Daily Online.

Article link: http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90780/7433972.html