Who censored CCTV's report on Yuyao's flood chaos?

CCTV claimed its reporters had discovered the cause of the city’s terrible flood after it was hit by Typhoon Fitow,yet the program was never aired

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 October, 2013, 1:05pm
UPDATED : Friday, 18 October, 2013, 1:05pm

China’s Central Television, the powerful state-run broadcaster, seems to have fallen victim to censorship itself on Thursday after it failed to air an investigative report about the flood-stricken Yuyao city in coastal Zhejiang province, hours after it promised viewers a “revelation of truth”.

In a Weibo preview of its daily news show “Economics 30 minutes,” published earlier on Thursday, CCTV’s economy news channel, CCTV2, – claimed its reporters had discovered the cause of the city’s terrible flood after it was hit by Typhoon Fitow.

“The four large reservoirs in Yuyao took no emergency measures to release water before Tyhoon Fitow landed, and this caused the big flood,” it said. The post also criticised the local government’s slow rate of response in times of disaster.

“The government’s warning message had arrived too late and, unfortunately, the city’s water pumps all stopped working,” it continued. “The executive in charge of the city’s drainage system even shed shameful tears in front of the camera.”

Yet to the dismay of its viewers, the programme aired at 9.20pm mentioned nothing about Yuyao or the flood. It was instead devoted to a discussion about wine.

Disappointed viewers turned to Weibo to vent their frustration, many blaming Yuyao’s local government for censoring the report.

“The city failed in fighting the flood, yet they received a perfect score in PR,” wrote one microblogger.

“Digging [for] the ugly truth of the local government is like slapping the face of the local and even central leaders, that’s how intertwined the political system is,” observed another.

CCTV’s Weibo preview was also deleted on Thursday night. No explanation was offered.

Questions sent to CCTV2’s Weibo account were not answered on Friday.

A spokesperson at CCTV’s official telephone service line said she could not comment.

Clashes between residents and police were reported this week in Yuyao, a city of one million an hour away from the provincial capital Hangzhou. Locals, angered by the city’s insufficient disaster relief measures, shared photos and angry comments online, with some going so far as to declare independent rule from the central government. Many local bloggers were later detained.

A  resident surnamed Zhu told the South China Morning Post earlier this week he knew of 57 people detained in Yuyao on Tuesday for sharing reports of the situation online.