Mainland media generated a rare, sustained flow of critical reports after the taps were turned off in Harbin and kept up the barrage following an apology from Jilin officials. Newspapers bombarded the Jilin Petrochemical with requests for further clarification when it initially denied there had been any pollution from an explosion at its Jilin city plant on November 13. The Shanghai Morning Post described the company's spokesman, Wang Ping, as evasive in response to questions. The newspaper said Mr Wang answered 'not sure' to almost all of its questions and concluded that even if the company finally admitted responsibility, it would be too late. The China Youth Daily also accused the Harbin city government of trying to cover up the extent of the pollution to maintain social order because it issued two different explanations for the water cuts. Mainland newspapers and television stations usually rely on official Xinhua reports to set the agenda for disaster coverage, but this week the different media services sent their own staff to Harbin and neighbouring cities to report on the story. The reporters interviewed concerned residents and specialists and cast doubt on repeated promises from the authorities that the pollution would be cleaned up as soon as possible. The Guangzhou Daily quoted Heilongjiang environmental expert Zhai Pingyang as saying the toxic benzene would remain locked in the ice of the frozen Songhua River, making the contamination more difficult to remove. A source at Guangdong's Nanfang Weekend, a publication known for its investigative reports, said it had sent reporters to Jilin right after the blast, but was forced to drop a front-page article on the incident because of pressure from the provincial government. Sources also said that soon after the accident, Jilin put pressure on sister provinces to recall their reporters and that explained why there was a virtual news blackout on the factory explosion the week after the disaster.