Zhejiang typhoon victims attack TV crew, police over 'untruthful' report

Hundreds of Yuyao typhoon victims clashed with riot police and overturned police vehicles

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 October, 2013, 11:45am
UPDATED : Monday, 14 October, 2013, 11:12am

Violence broke out on Friday night in the typhoon-ravaged city of Yuyao, Zhejiang province as angry locals accused a state TV crew of falsely reporting typhoon damages and clashed with riot police.

The TV station has denied these accusations. It said in a statement issued on Saturday morning that its workers never attacked the locals verbally or physically, and they had reported the residents' sufferings in a truthful manner.

Pictures shared on social media by witnesses last night showed people blocking a satellite TV van used by the crew, battered police cars lying on their sides after being flipped by residents, and men shouting protests with their faces covered in blood.

Online accounts say residents were infuriated after a journalist said to the camera that, ”The flood in Yuyao is gone, and the people have gone back to their normal lives.” Ninbo TV station denied having said these words in the program.

Locals also claimed that reporter shouted abusive words at them after they suggested that the crew check out families who were stranded in the flood without any electricity, food or water. Ningbo TV Station again denied having verbally attacked residents, and said the “journalist” who appeared in  photos  widely circulated online was a resident who had forced her way onto the van. 

After locals started gathering around and blocked them from driving away, TV station workers said they had to lock the van and stay inside to protect themselves. Both the satellite van and several police cars were damaged by residents with windows smashed and bodies dented, according to photos online.

In their official statement, Ningbo TV Station explained that the crew had truthfully reported what they had seen in Yuyao without any distorting or exaggerating facts.

The number of casualties from the clash remained undisclosed. Yuyao police station issued a statement early Saturday morning, urging residents to “stay calm” in a special time when the city was suffering from aftermaths of a “natural disaster”. It couldn’t be reached for a comment on Saturday.

The outburst of violence was reported after the chaos caused by Typhoon Fitow in the eastern province of Zhejiang continued this week, leaving tens of thousands stranded in their homes without power or water supply.

Many residents in typhoon and flood-hit areas have complained via social media that local officials were slow to respond to the disasters and state media deliberately under-reported the losses of lives and property.