Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Earthquake Rumors, China


The Times [London, UK]
13 May 2008

China bloggers cook up quake conspiracies

Hannah Fletcher

As the death toll in China's Sichuan province climbs, the nation's bloggers have joined together in the search for a scapegoat.

Broadband connections across the country are pulsing with rumours of "earthquake omens" involving toads or butterflies - all allegedly ignored by the authorities. Some even talk of a vast pre-Olympic conspiracy. [...]

Other bloggers seized upon an as yet unsubstantiated rumour that a Chinese geologist had predicted the earthquake in advance but had been stifled by the authorities, and by fear. [...]


Epoch Times [NY]
13 May 2008

Earthquake Predicted but Quashed as Rumour

By Sun Mingguo and Shar Adams
Epoch Times staff

More than 10 days before the disastrous earthquake that hit China on May 12, residents in Abazhou of Sichuan had already been discussing that an earthquake might strike. Some called the local Earthquake Prevention and Disaster Relief Board to confirm the news, but the bureau claimed that it was merely a rumour. [...]


The Associated Press
15 May 2008

Chinese wonder if animals can predict earthquakes


BEIJING (AP) -- First, the water level in a pond inexplicably plunged. Then, thousands of toads appeared on streets in a nearby province. Finally, just hours before China's worst earthquake in three decades, animals at a local zoo began acting strangely.

As bodies are pulled from the wreckage of Monday's quake, Chinese online chat rooms and blogs are buzzing with a question: Why didn't these natural signs alert the government that a disaster was coming? [...]


China Daily
13 May 2008

Quake 'predicted' 5 years ago

By Zhu Zhe (China Daily)

[...] Meanwhile, ahead of Monday's deadly earthquake, many people reported seeing unusual animal behavior.

On Saturday, local media reported that hundreds of thousands of toads had appeared on the streets of Manzhu, a city about 60 km southeast of Wenchuan.

A resident surnamed Liu was quoted as saying he saw countless toads killed by passing vehicles as they crossed roads, and that he had never seen anything like it.

Similarly, on Friday, people in Taizhou, Jiangsu province, also said they saw tens of thousands of toads on the city's streets, local media said.

Experts have said animals can give advance notice of quakes, as they sense tremors before they happen.

Unfortunately, no one heeded the toads' "warning".

In response to questions from the public about the reptilian swarms, officials in both Mianzhu and Taizhou said there was nothing unusual about them.

"The move is because of the change of weather," Shu Shi, director of the Mianzhu forestry bureau, was quoted as saying by local media.


China Daily
15 May 2008

Migrating toads might not be linked with earthquake

BEIJING -- Animals' abnormal activities might not be reliable evidence for a coming earthquake, a Chinese seismologist told a Xinhua reporter in an exclusive interview on Thursday. [...]


China Daily
16 May 2008

Scientists dismiss claims animals, clouds provided quake warning

By Sun Xiaohua (China Daily)

Neither the migration of toads nor unusual cloud formations were clear indicators of an impending earthquake, the country's seismological authority said on Thursday. [...]


New York Times
16 May 2008

Superstitions About Quake Meet the Web, Irritating the Chinese Authorities


CHENGDU, China -- Can earthquakes be predicted, their destructive impact forewarned?

Most scientists would say no. But if some insistent Chinese bloggers are to be believed, nature provided enough warning to have saved many of those who perished Monday. [...]


Los Angeles Times
18 May 2008

China cracks down on earthquake rumors

Hearsay has vexed Chinese leaders throughout history. The disaster has set off a new round.

By Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

BEIJING -- Almost as soon as the initial aftershocks stopped reverberating last week, the rumors began. Some say that frogs, insects and other animals fled shortly before the earth shook. Others insist that water mysteriously drained from ponds, or that Beijing knew the massive earthquake would strike but chose not to publicize it with the Olympics around the corner. [...]

[This article also mentions various rumors told by Tibetans.]