China orders transparent handling of major accidents after fatal train crash (2)

08:42, August 04, 2011      

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Only by publicly disclosing the truth can the aftermath of the accident be handled properly, Wen said.

He also urged the Ministry of Railways to give an "honest answer" to the people regarding its actions following the crash. Many of the country's citizens believe that the ministry moved too hastily in the aftermath of the incident, raising questions about the ministry's ability to manage its own public image.

Tuesday's circular also stipulated that government authorities are responsible for keeping people informed about what is happening during major emergencies.

Yu Fang, a disease control official from Shangcheng County in central China's Henan Province knows all too well what can happen when local governments fail to inform their constituents.

He recalled an incident last summer in which more than 100 local residents were bitten by ticks, resulting in one death and the infection of dozens of others. The Shangcheng County government was blamed for not disclosing information about the danger of ticks in time for the residents to protect themselves.


"Some officials don't even know what microblogs are," Prof. Xie said regarding the online responses to the train crash. "They lack an awareness of new media. They are too arrogant to care."

Internet users flooded major microblogging sites after the crash, questioning the government's handling of the accident and offering condolences to the victims.

Microblogging services enjoyed "explosive growth" in the first six months of this year, with the number of registered microblog users surging by 208.9 percent to reach 195 million, according to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).

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