More Accidents in 2008

Update May 6, 2008 Changed the title from 2008, a Year of Terror to current title – just to be more objective.

With the approach of Beijing Olympics, I just feel that it is becoming a year of terror. Many bad things happened one after another, and news report says every single one is not related to terrorism, but…

Bus Explosion

Today, a bus in Shanghai exploded during rush hours this morning, killing 3 persons, and injured 12. The news used a term “explosive fire”, instead of “explosion”, but I never heard of the newly-created term before. Why not just say “explosion”? Again, Sina’s report (Chinese with pictures).

Train Collision

I just recorded the train accident within one week, which killed 71 people.

EV71 Virus

Just like SARS, the recent EV71 virus broke out in Anhui, and spread to Zhejiang, and Henan… 5840 people were affected along, 20 died, and about 100 are still in danger.

The virus seems to be only infectable by children. As parent of a kid, I understand how serious everyone is taking about it. Yifan has been highly protected, and his visit to supermarket or other crowded area has been restricted.

What’s next? Will it be another SARS in China? I am deeply concerned. More Report

Suspecious Stuff Found in Beijing Metro

Beijing Metro was just paused for 20 minutes because of suspecious stuff found in the metro cart. I didn’t find meaningful follow up news about what is found (or not found) after that.

What happened? It is so rare, since before, bad news like this is not reported at all. Is it a sign of improvement of news report, or just a sign to tell me that it is bad enough than I thought? More about this news.

Airplane Conflict

Another news is, two aircraft almost collapsed with each other face to face in Dalian airport. One of the airplane on the runway already ready to depart was forced to pull down. Otherwise, there will be another air crash. Again, the reason is unknown yet.

A Year of Terror

Bad news after bad news these days, and it all happened around 100 days before Olympics. Will the year of 2008 be the year of terror? Terror means two things. It may mean the real threat from terrorism, but it may also mean that even the fact is there is no terrorism at all, but if people feel that way, that is also a big problem.

On April 9, 2003, I wrote Panic Under Control. SARS May Not. That was three weeks before the head of Health Department was sacked, and the media report just repeat that there is no SARS at all, and ask people not to worry, and do whatever they want to do, instead of staying at home… At that time, people are trying to control panic, but not SARS.

Today, it may be another situation. I don’t know whether all these are related to terrorism or not. I completely have no idea, just as I don’t know whether there is SARS or not before May holiday of 2003. But how about panic? I personally feel it – I am really concerned with public transportation, and cares about my child, and so do some of my friends. What is the best way to control panic? I may give it a sub-title like “There is no Terrorism. Then How about Panic?”.

17 Comments

  1. That is horrible and reminds me of the bus explosions in London a few years ago. The latter was definitely deliberate and terrorism.

  2. That is horrible and reminds me of the bus explosions in London a few summers back.

  3. I do not think today’s bus explosion was terrorism, it’s just a accident. But I agree with your opinion about panic, you know, sometimes, mental panic is more terrible than actual terrorism.

  4. With increasing modernization, and instantaneous media (AND a world event like the Olympics in China), these feelings of fear and worry about terror have been common in the US, especially as terrorism rose the past two decades within and without the US. I wonder if you would enjoy watching Michael Moore’s movie “Bowling for Columbine”? It deal with the effects of a culture of fear in the US.

    Let’s hope a lot of pulbic fear will pass after a successful Olympics.

    Allison

  5. i can’t help but snicker about this ‘fear’ in china. the chinese protesters blame CNN for being biased and boycotting carrefour but they can’t trust their own media and government to provide timely, accurate information on matters that are far more important. who cares about the olympics and the olympic torch relay when hyper-inflation, potentially life threatening diseases and possible terrorist activities among other more important events are being unreported or worse, covered up? where are the priorities?

  6. it makes no sense to relate these “bad” news to make up a ‘terrorism’ plot, LZ.

    they are simply coincidental.

    or are they? Hmmmmmmm…

    at least i’m knowing these news form demostic media, that’s not so bad, for one thing.

    or is it? Hmmmmmmm…

    maybe i’m not being told the whole truth?….

    if so, why? i already know terrosist plots do exist, like those planned by Xin Jiangers…

    then why are they hiding? maybe they are not hiding anything at all…

    but why are these ‘bad’ news happen so ‘together’?

    i don’t know then. what should i be expecting?…

    i do feel sorry for those lost their lives, their relatives can be deeply sad…

    or am I really? i don’t know them, never see them…and…

    what is this vicious thinking in my mind?…

  7. It does not appear to be terrism to me. But we should all be vigilant, and everyone should do his/her job, e.g., the railway worker and railcar driver should be alert, bus driver and maintenace worker should check stuff more throughly, the goverment reminds people on the media (not to fear, but to be alert)…I remember Roosevelt once said “we have nothing to fear but fear itself”. So far I think Chinese goverment handles things well.

  8. I doubt these events had anything to do with terrorism, just sloppy management on the side of the government bodies (the claim of terrorism might be a way for the government bodies to try and cover their mistakes).

    I do agree with you about fear. I think better monitoring and management is needed on the part of the government ministries. I know that Chinese people don’t trust these organizations and that’s why they’re so fearful.

    J.

  9. Hmmm… Yes, a lot seems to be happening in China but so little if one considers that China has what ? 1/3 of the world`s population ? As for hoping to get “timely, accurate information”…I can not think of one country that is not a wee bit biased these days. At the Atlanta`s games (1996), a small bomb exploded and the “terrorist” was quickly arrested…and quietly released after the games: wasn`t him.

    The news in the “democratic world” are so very often biased or wrong. Never in my life, have I felt as safe as when I was in China.

  10. Allison,

    Thats exactly what I thought about when I read the post. I dont think that it is that these things never happened in the past, it is just that the news didnt report them, and the biggest change being the instant communications via the internet. I think the internet is playing a large role in getting the media to report more “bad” news. If the news doesnt say anything about the bus accident, then some Shanghai blogger is likely to have seen it and will blog about it, post pictures, etc. Then those on the BBS etc speculate that is was terrorism, etc and the speculation gets out of hand quickly. In the past this didnt really exist, and you might have just had some people in the neighborhood gossiping about it without the information spreading far.

    But I dont think Chinese media can yet come close to the US in the are of fear mongering. By the way, I thought Bowling for Columbine was an excellent movie and really helps to explain alot of things about America

  11. These are really bad in China. People can not know or believe what happened truly. Don’t we think the media does work for government? So many key problems make people who live in other countries believe that Chinese lead a very poor life.

    Traffic accidents are seen every day, but people DO not obey traffic rule.

    You will be not surprised to see traffic jams everywhere in Shanghai or Beijing or even small cities in China. There are many evident reasons to cause the daily traffic jams, like narrow roads, or road bottle-necks. Why do the government make a good and long-term plan when road construction? Why do not the people obey the traffic rules? Why do so many people have no safe understanding? Today I heard a shuttle bus near our apartment hit a man and the man was dead on the ground. TOO BAD, TOO TOO BAD. How does the life go on????

  12. I don’t understand why you describe events such as foot and mouth disease and train crashes as “terror”. Yes they may be terrible, but these things happen all the time. China has disease outbreaks like SARS, bird flu, floods and some bad accidents everv year. If anything, 2008 will be safer because of all the security.

  13. Terror does not mean terrorism. It means the lack of security – no matter it is because of natural disaster, or operation mistake.

    When we see too many bad things, especially to something very close to you, you feel that bad things may happen to you at any time. That is the sense of insecure.

  14. The word insecurity would be better. Terror will be understood as terrorism.

  15. Add one more terror: Crashing stock market.

  16. And somebody rebell china!

  17. …and you forget one more thing – the snowiest winter for some years around in China, just around the spring festival.

    I think you should consider 2 very important things though:

    1) Many accidents happen not only in China. The rate is increasing in the whole world as well. There’re more cars than before, drivers are less careful and more anxious, there’re much more people travelling and commuting every day. More to it, due to the global warming there’re more natural disasters – floods, hurricanes, blizzards, droughts and so on. The funny thing is many people think it’s a local event conserning their country, but unfortunately it’s all around.

    It’s the price of living in a globalising world lead by capitalism, egoism and CONSUMPTION.

    And it’s not only in China.

    2) This year China is holding the Olympics (as you all probably know). Chinese government had endured a lot of criticism about the freedom of speech, so this particular year they gave a “human look” of the press. This means even if the same things happened last year, this year they will be more spotted by both Chinese and the whole world.

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