Beijing Flooding Compared To Katrina

In China, authorities are still counting the cost of heavy weekend floods in Beijing. City officials say three-dozen people died in the flooding, and more than 60,000 houses were damaged. Losses are estimated at nearly $2 billion. But the intangible damage is to the government's credibility.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

In China, authorities are still counting the cost of heavy weekend flooding in Beijing. Officials now say 37 people died and more than 60,000 homes were damaged. Loses are estimated at nearly two billion dollars, but as NPR's Louisa Lim reports from Beijing, some of the damage is to the government's credibility.

LOUISA LIM, BYLINE: A propaganda war is being waged on China's airwaves and Internet. The official narrative is one of triumph and bravery, highlighting stories like a man who saved 170 people singlehandedly. But Beijingers saw their roads turn into rivers and read online tales of desperation. Few believed the official death toll.

MR. LI: (Speaking foreign language)

LIM: I think the figure should be much higher, says a man who gives his name as Mr. Li. Covering up is an old tradition for our government, but the truth can't be hidden anymore. Many are questioning why the city's infrastructure is so poor that it can't cope with heavy rain.

MR. ZHOU: (Speaking foreign language)

LIM: Government spending hasn't been transport says a Mr. Zhou. We should know where the money goes because it's our taxes. No one has confidence anymore. Indeed, a new phrase is circulating online: Terrorism by corruption. There's massive public dissatisfaction that money spent on vanity projects instead of basic infrastructure. These rains are already being called China's Hurricane Katrina. Louisa Lim, NPR News, Beijing.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.