CCTV news anchor Qin Fang struggles to contain her emotions while Qiu Qiming and Bai Yansong ask several hard-hitting questions
By now, as you may imagine, the Ministry of Truth, aka Propaganda Bureau, has lost a pretty significant part of its ability to control media coverage of the Wenzhou train crash. Journalists are defying earlier orders by the bureau to not “investigate the causes of the accident” and to “use information released from authorities as standard”. They have also taken to Sina Weibo to release tidbits of information they have discovered in the course of their investigation that they may or may not succeed in getting to print.
But you know something has really changed in the cosmos when even the national broadcaster CCTV is sidestepping orders to not question, elaborate, reflect or comment on the situation.
In particular, three CCTV news anchors have been applauded by netizens for their comments in reports that can only be described as uncharacteristic of the broadcaster.
In the following video, newsreader Qin Fang (秦方) is unable to hold back her emotions as she talks about the two-year-old toddler Xiang Weiyi, rescued hours after the Ministry of Railways said there were no more signs of life, and who has now been orphaned by the accident.
Later as she regains control of herself, she asks four pointed questions directed at the Ministry of Railways, which she says “must not be avoided” and “have to be answered”:
1. Was this really another accident caused by lightning?
2. Why did the train behind not know the train in front had come to a halt?
3. Why were trains so hastily cleared before lives were saved?
4. Why has no passenger name list been published yet?
In closing, Qin says, “As a mother, faced with the tears of Yiyi, I, nor anyone else, is unable to accept any hasty conclusion.We look forward to a review of the meaning of “development”. We don’t want any more children to become orphans, nor any more parents to lose their children.That is the real “miracle” we’re all looking for.”
Meanwhile news anchor Qiu Qiming (邱启明) who recently shocked China for his on-air criticism of actress Lü Liping for her homophobic remarks, has won the applause of netizens once again for the following remarks in the latest segment of his show “24 Hours” 《24小时》:
“If nobody can be safe, do we still want this speed? Can we drink a glass of milk that’s safe? Can we stay in an apartment that will not fall? Can the roads we travel on in our cities not collapse? Can we travel in safe trains? And if and when a major accident does happen, can we not be in a hurry to bury the trains? Can we afford the people a basic sense of security? China, please slow down. If you’re too fast, you may leave the souls of your people behind.”
Star anchor Bai Yansong (白岩松) who has his own show called “News 1+1” 《新闻1+1》also raised doubts regarding the credibility of the Ministry of Railways. In particular he took a swipe at ministry spokesman Wang Yongping’s (王勇平) insistence that the technology behind China’s high-speed railway network is “advanced, up to standard” and that “we have full faith” in the system.
Bai says that just because the technology is “advanced” doesn’t mean it’s “up to standard”, or that we should have “full faith” in the system.
“The technology may be advanced, but is your management advanced? Are your standard operating procedures advanced? Is the supervision advanced? Is your respect for people advanced? Are all the minute details advanced? At the end of the day, is your overall operational capability advanced? Only when we can answer in the affirmative can we say that the system is “up to standard” and we can have “full faith” in the system.” adds Bai.
Bai then raises the (rather poorly selected) analogy of a 40-year-old man who is so healthy his heart, liver, lungs, etc. function like a 20-year-old man’s. “But what if he is intellectually disabled?” asks Bai. “Would we still consider him healthy? Only when all of his bodily functions, including his brain and intellect are in order can we pass him off as healthy. Similarly, if and only if all your systems are “advanced” can we say it is “up to standard” and we can have “full faith” in it.”
Bai’s pointed remarks led to rumours on the bulletin boards of Mop.com last evening that his comments have raised the ire of the powers that be and that his show has been dropped by CCTV. Bai’s show, as it turns out, has not been dropped but his show was indeed replaced by another show on July 26th, but returned to air last evening. Conspiracy theories abound as to what happened behind the scenes to cause the show’s replacement.