Close

Support Global Voices

To stay independent, free, and sustainable, our community needs the help of friends and readers like you.

Donate now »

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

China: Lunar new year approaches with tragedy growing

Crisis looms large across the south part of the country with the 2008 China Snowstorm showing no signs of letting up. Trains are trapped [zh] on tracks, cars stuck on highways, flights have been delayed and canceled up and down the east coast and at least one woman has been trampled to death [zh] beneath the hundreds of thousands of stranded travelers at Guangzhou‘s train station in the south, scrambling in misery to make it home for the Olympic Chinese New Year of the Rat, which begins on Thursday.

The impact has been worse in other parts of the south, not accustomed to dealing with snow in any amounts, leaving large parts of Hunan and Hubei provinces freezing but without electricity and in some cases, water. Nearly all of normally subtropical Guizhou province, one of China's poorest, is in crisis mode now, with large areas urban and rural encased entirely in ice.

For the areas that still have electricity, the shared experience is being shown online. Here one Youku user somewhere in Guizhou writes that with both water and electricity off, over ten thousand people have gathered at what appears to be a natural hot water source (**please be warned that in the fifth video down, closeups of dead bodies are portrayed):

Another user from Guizhou writes in shock at all the ice, in a province which very seldom sees snow:

More shocking images of the response efforts, also from Guizhou:

Dozens of similar citizen reporter-style videos can be found on Chinese video sharing websites; this one comes from Hunan:

Several days ago a bus traveling from Chongqing to Guizhou overturned on the highway, resulting in 25 deaths. Someone took the time to film the salvage effort at the extremely grisly scene:

TangFlyBra at hoopChina asks in a post on Friday, “Guizhou, are you still alive?”

首先,贵州是最早开始凝冻天气的城市,也是受灾最严重的城市,这场漫天的大雪对贵州的伤害远远大于其他地区,因为贵州是喀斯特地形山脉,大部分公路都是环山而建,因此一旦路面无法出行,就意味着那些山里的城市和乡村将与世隔绝,没有任何能出去的可能!现在贵州很多县都已经断水断电并且与外界失去联系无数天了,加上当地本来就比较贫穷,当地人民完全是被抛弃在了大山里。
发飙:湖南是全国的交通枢纽、广州是返乡农民工的聚集地,于是漫天的报道都是这些省,而受灾最严重的贵州呢?是否已经被人遗忘了?昨晚看到公布的灾害各地的更新列表,首页居然没有贵州省!去他大爷的!

其次,贵州的电塔由于厚厚的结冰已经倒塌了无数了,电塔上的结冰有接近1公分厚,这就意味着一座电塔上面现在被数吨的东西压着,这能不倒吗?贵阳前几天已经大面积停电停水了,贵州省委开会都是点蜡烛了,省会尚且如此,更何况其他城市。
发飙:当全省人民都在无限的痛苦之中,中央电视台连线贵州贵阳记者进行最新一轮灾情采访,首先问的第一句话是:“这次最新的降雪对你们那里有影响吗?”我操!当贵州的雪不是雪是吗?然后我期待着贵阳的记者把严重的问题说出来(我爸妈现在已经没办法出门了,昨晚的冻雪又造成了地面厚厚的一层冰,贵州所有的道路都是高低起伏的,可以想象一下现在贵州基本已经是一个巨大的溜冰场了)。你们知道记者花了十分钟在说什么吗?在说他妈的移动、联通和电信的基站如何如何被影响,然后如何如何去有人每隔七小时用柴油发电机去保证大家能顺利打手机。。。那些山区里的老乡们都他妈快冻死饿死了,就算贵阳也都停水停电又没法出门了,你他妈的居然在这里说保证手机信号的事情,我FXXK!!!

First off, Guizhou was the earliest place to be covered in ice, and it's also seen the most severe disaster; the heavy snow which has filled the sky has done far more damage to Guizhou than it has other areas, because Guizhou is in the Karst region, and most roads loop around the mountains, making it not only impossible to leave, meaning that the mountain cities and villages are cut off from each other, with no possibility of getting out! Now, many counties in Guizhou have had no water or electricity or contact with the outside world for days already; add in the extreme poverty there, and the local people end up completely abandoned in mountains.

Hunan is a national traffic hub, and Guangzhou is where migrant workers gather to return home, so reports have all been on these two provinces. And Guizhou, which has seen the most devastation? Have people forgotten it already? Last night I saw the latest list of disaster areas, but I didn't even see Guizhou province on the front page! God dammit!

What's more, countless electricity towers in Guizhou, covered in ice nearly a centimeter thick, have toppled over. With a ton of ice pressing down on it, what electricity tower wouldn't fall down? For several days already, [the provincial capital] Guiyang has been without electricity or water. Even the provincial government is lighting candles now just to convene, and if that's where they're at, other cities must be worse.

As the entire province is stuck in endless misery, CCTV reporters from Guiyang did interviews for an update on the latest of the disaster. Their first question was, “have you been affected there by the latest snowfall?” Fuck! It's not snow if it's Guizhou snow, is that it? Then when I expected the Guiyang reporter to start asking the serious questions (my mom and dad, btw, can't even get out door now, the frozen snow from last night's fall has turned the ground into a thick layer of ice. All the roads in Guizhou are on rolling land, so you can imagine that the whole province is pretty much one big skating rink now), do you know what the reporter spent ten minute talking about? That fucking China Mobile and China Unicom relay stations have been affected, and how every seven hours someone is going and using a diesel generator to make sure everyone's cellphones work smoothly…the people in the mountain villages are about to fucking freeze and starve to death, and all of Guiyang is without power or water and can't even go out, and you're still fucking here talking about ensuring cellphone usage? Fuck!!!

Zhao Mu, director of main news portal Sohu.com's blogging services, posted on his blog today a thread of netizen comments that has been making the rounds:


Aqua and green are little to no hazard areas

贵州已经是零下5,6度,已经几乎是湿冷的极限,能很快带走人体热量,贵州人民短水短电,粮食及其危机,能源无法保证,生活艰辛无法想像。

希望天气早日结束,在成都关注和同情你们!

谁来拯救雪困中的贵州人?

现在到处都是关于雪灾的消息,贵州属于重灾区。我是一名在京的贵州人,所以尤其关注贵州的灾情,但是却发现从网络以及电视、报刊杂志上能了解贵州灾情的消息不多,不断和家人、亲友短信电话,得知的也是交通情况恶劣,都匀福泉等地无电供应等很片面的了解,直到刚才才从一友人处了解到一些比较全面且真实的情况,在此发表,希望版主能让此贴迅速通过并置顶以引起大家的关注,以此来为我家乡人民谋求一丝希望!否则再这样下去,我们这些身在异乡的贵州人将无颜面对家乡父老。
。。。
“仁怀现在就是一个死城~好惨,停水、停电、没有物资没有油,道路全封闭都两个星期了,连中枢街上都是一层冰,房顶上的冰有7cm厚,已经有人冻死了,火葬场没有油烧尸体好残忍。我们全员上路都快顶不住了(他们是交通警察),这是我从来没有经历过的残酷,有时我都在想象这是不是电影,感慨和平安定多好呀!今天终于来了3个小时的电又停,我正回来开服务器UPS(这是一种电源设备)马上用完。好累。

寒灾起初中央没有引起重视,没有任何准备。要是中央再不采取紧急措施空投物资的话,我们这里真的要大规模的死人了。

(我问仁怀市现在状况如何,政府有何反应,他回答:)什么都运不进来,运油的车都翻在了路上,连行政中心都没有电,街上的炭买12元一斤、蜡烛5元一支、冻熟的白菜5元一斤还是限量。政府也没有办法

((我问他还能坚持多久?)顶多还能坚持2天,还没有救援的话,将是尸体成山。

Guizhou is already at 5 or 6 below zero, the limits of wet cold. Soon it will be taking away people's body heat. The people of Guizhou are already short of water and electricity, and in the midst of a food crisis, with no guarantee on resources, making life for them bleak beyond the imaginable.

I hope the weather ends soon. With care and sympathy from Chengdu.

Who's going to rescue the Guizhouers trapped in the snow?

News is everywhere now of the snow catastrophe, and Guizhou has been one of the hardest-hit regions. I'm from Guizhou, living now in Beijing, and that's why I'm paying particular attention to the Guizhou disaster. I've noticed that there's not much to be found out about what's happening there now from the internet, television, newspapers or magazines, so I've been keeping in regular touch with family members and relatives, over the phone and through SMS, and I've learned that the traffic situation is horrible, but even less about places like Duyun and Fuquan with no power supply. Right until just now when I got from one friend a pretty comprehensive picture, which I'll post here, and I hope the webmaster hikes this up so more people see it, and to give the people back where I'm from a shred of hope! If things keep on the way they are, us Guizhoers around the country won't have enough face left to go back and face the folks at home.
[…]
“Renhuai is already a dead city, it's so tragic. No water, no electricity, no supplies and no oil. All roads have been closed for two weeks already, and even the main streets are layered with ice. The ice on the roofs of houses is seven centimeters thick, and people have already frozen to death. The crematory has no fuel to burn the bodies with, it's tragic. Our whole squad can barely stay on the road (they're traffic police), this is more merciless than anything I've seen before. Sometimes I even wonder if this isn't a movie, it makes things a lot easier to handle! Today we finally got three hours of electricity and then it stopped again. I'm going back now to turn on the server UPS (this is a kind of power source) as I'm almost out of power. So tired.

The central government wasn't led to pay that much attention when the cold first struck, so there wasn't any preparation. Now if the central government doesn't keep up the emergency goods air drops, we're going to have large-scale deaths here.”

I ask what the situation is now in Renhuai, if the government has taken action, and he answers: “they can't move anything in, the fuel transport truck flipped on the road, and even the administrative center has no power; coal on the street is selling for 12 RMB a jin, candles 5 RMB a piece, and frozen cooked cabbage at 5 RMB a jin is still limited. There's nothing the government can do.”

I ask him how long they can last. “Two days at most, and if we haven't been saved by then, there are going to be mountains of corpses.”

News we could hear sooner than not; at least in Guangdong province, local transportation authorities didn't hesitate to repeat the true situation of tracks restored and numbers heading home in the face of Ministry (and The Minister) of Railways’ fabrications to that effect during Wen Jiabao's visit to the provincial capital's train station earlier this week. Southern Group reporters are being recalled, presumably so Xinhua can take over.

Making the most of the situation, a group of boys in hard-hit Bijie, Guizhou, filmed themselves hiking up to a local television transmission tower where locals are passing the time playing on an sloped ice patch:

7 comments

  • […] 祝愿各大火车站,汽车站滞留的旅客们能够早日回家过年。今天终于爆出踩踏拥挤致死的事件了,要保护好自己。是否只有一人,这是值得怀疑的……还有,就如global voices online所言,我确实也很少从国内媒体得知贵州雪灾的境况……铺天盖地的是广州火车站滞留旅客,安徽,湖南,杭州…………贵州呢??? […]

  • […] taking food and supplies to the people stranded by snows. Guangzhou-based John also writes on Global Voices: Crisis looms large across the south part of the country with the 2008 China Snowstorm showing no […]

  • […] provinces. The excellent Global Voices Online offers a selection, with English translations, here (via […]

  • […] is hounding China as the Chinese New Year approaches. Snowstorms and blackouts sows mayhem, reports Global Voices Online: Crisis looms large across the south part of the country with the 2008 China Snowstorm showing no […]

  • […] the new year of 2008 began, the south of China was buried under heavy ice and snow, but how many people froze to death? How many starved to death? Where did they die? What were their names? Where they […]

  • […] China: Lunar new year approaches with tragedy growing Crisis looms large across the south part of the country with the 2008 China Snowstorm showing no signs of letting up. Trains are trapped [zh] on tracks, cars stuck on highways, flights have been delayed and canceled up and down the east coast and at least one woman has been trampled to death [zh] beneath […] […]

  • […] China marked the beginning of 2008 in which the country suffers from abnormal natural hazards. Trains got trapped on halfway stations were crowded with tens of thousands migrant workers anxiously waiting […]

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »

Guidelines

  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices!

Submitted addresses will be confirmed by email, and used only to keep you up to date about Global Voices and our mission. See our Privacy Policy for details.

Newsletter powered by Mailchimp (Privacy Policy and Terms).

* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site