China: earthquakes unearths tensions

According to Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun the Chinese Central Propaganda Department has issued guidelines on reporting of the Qinghai earthquake disaster. All internal news items circulated within mainland China are to be approved by state officials before publishing, and can only focus on positive aspects of the relief effort.

Western media has already been more critical, focussing on aspects such as the unrecognised efforts of the 200 Tibetan monks who were banned from accessing certain areas of the city, instead concentrating on helping the rural population whose houses suffered the most damage. Other aspects that have hampered the rescue operation include delays in the arrival of aid packages and the altitude sickness experienced by many workers not native to the area. In a similar twist to the Sichuan earthquake of 2008, people have again been questioning why only government buildings have remained standing, whilst schools and homes have suffered the most destruction. Chinese news channels have been banned from reporting on these aspects of the disaster.