Saturday, April 27, 2013

2013 Sichuan Earthquake: Sina Weibo Censors "Earthquake Three Gorges"

On December 12, 2005, the People's Daily web site published a report from China's official news agency Xinhua entitled "Experts: Three Gorges Project Didn't Trigger Earthquake in East China's Jiangxi Province." An excerpt:
Chinese experts lashed out Friday at a report claiming that the Three Gorges Project triggered last weekend's earthquake in east China's Jiangxi Province, calling it "sheer speculation without any scientific foundation."
"Scientific studies show that the Three Gorges Project didn't trigger the earthquake in Jiujiang City of Jiangxi Province," Dr. Qin Xiaojun, a seismologist and spokesman for the Hubei Provincial Seismological Bureau currently in Jiujiang for disaster appraisal, told Xinhua.
On June 27, 2012, the state-sponsored Global Times published an article entitled "Power Plants Not Quake Factories." An excerpt:
Yunnan authorities said on Monday that the earthquake that struck the border of Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, killing four and injuring 150, was not related to the ongoing construction of hydroelectric plants along the Jinsha River.
. . . .
A geologist agreed with the Yunnan authorities, dismissing on Sunday the blame being put on the plant's construction, though he warned of potential future disasters when the plants come online.
"Hydroelectric plants can lead to serious earthquakes only when they are completed and the dams start to fill up with water. However, the plants near the epicenter are still under construction now," Fan Xiao, a geologist with the Sichuan Bureau of Geological Exploration and Exploration of Mineral Resources, told the Global Times.
"As the dams begin to fill with water in the next decade, there will be a high possibility of earthquakes happening. The water in the dam will press down on the rocks below, potentially causing a slip among the fault line, which could lead to an earthquake. The water can also infiltrate the rock bed, which may also set off a quake," Fan said.
On April 20, 2013, Xinhua reported:
A 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Lushan county of Ya'an city in southwest China's Sichuan Province at 8:02 a.m. Saturday Beijing Time, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC).
The epicenter, with a depth of 13 km, was monitored at 30.3 degrees north latitude and 103.0 degrees east longitude.
This screenshot, taken on April 27, shows that Sina Weibo was censoring searches for "Earthquake Three Gorges."