Politics and Earthquake Predictions: The CCP's View of Human Life
(Clearwisdom.net) Earthquake forecasts are not acknowledged under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Some people may not believe it when we say that the CCP clearly knew when the earthquake would happen but intentionally concealed it. The CCP's propaganda after the earthquake shamelessly induced people to think that the Wenchuan earthquake was unexpected. This approach, however, was taken to disassociate themselves from responsibility, and from another angle, it served to discredit talented and prudent seismologists.
Chinese Seismological Station chief forecaster, Sun Shihong, said in a special interview in "21st Century Economics Report," "Several months ago, the Sichuan Province Earthquake Bureau made an analysis, and the results indicated that Sichuan may have large earthquake within the next few months. This report was officially related to the Sichuan Provincial government."
On May 20, the Xinhua News agency reported a speech by Lu Hao, the Gansu Provincial Party Committee Secretary, at a "Provincial Meeting for Earthquake Relief Work." Lu Hao said, "Before and after the 8.0 level earthquake in Wenchuan, Sichuan, we did a huge amount of work to make an accurate forecast predicting the likelihood of an earthquake, and subsequently reported our findings to the provincial party committee and provincial government, and after the earthquake we immediately gave a comment stating that our portent was of accurate judgment..."
According to Sun Shihong, the analysis by the Sichuan Province Earthquake Bureau a few months ago was sufficient to indicate how severe the earthquake in Sichuan would be, not to mention massive forecasts and disputes from within academic circles about the Wenchuan earthquake [editor's note: the quake is named "Wenchuan earthquake" for Wenchuan County - the epicenter of the Earthquake - which is in Sichuan Province]. While browsing through academic periodicals on the Internet, one can find several hundred research papers about the "Longmen Mountain fault zone." Glancing through domestic literature reports about earthquake predictions from 2000 to 2007, one can also find dozens of articles that give warning of the Wenchuan earthquake.
A reporter from Lian He Zao Bao of Singapore asked a question at a State Council press conference on May 13th, stating in the question that they received "complaints by seven staff members from the Sichuan Earthquake Bureau. It is said that their relatives discovered indications of an upcoming earthquake several days before, but the Bureau forbade them to disclose the information, in order to guarantee 'stability before the Olympics.'" When consider these "Sichuan Earthquake Bureau signs" and the reports provided by seismologist Sun Shihong to the provincial government, then it seems that the reporter's question was not unfounded.
Failure to report the Tangshan earthquake of 1976 is another example of the CCP's destructive incompetence. Many people thought that the Tangshan earthquake happened suddenly without warning. In fact there were warnings, and these were revealed to the public over the twenty years after the disaster. The Tangshan earthquake also had several portents, and many experts gave forecasts with precise accuracy. In 2006, Chief of the State Bureau of Seismology, Chen Jianmin, acknowledged in a media interview, "The Tangshan earthquake actually had portents - many troops were sent to the scene to understand the situation, and collect information, but the earthquake unexpectedly came in such a huge way, and so quickly."
Objectively speaking, failure to report the Tangshan earthquake had two causes: one was a misjudgment from the responsible authorities, who thought its epicenter would be in northern Sichuan, and had neglected to pay attention to Beijing, Tianjin and Tangshan. The other cause had several political factors. On April 5th of that year, Tiananmen Square had its "4/5 Movement", whose nature was determined by authorities as an "Anti-revolutionary Incident"; criticism of Deng Xiaoping as a "Counter-attack right deviationist for reversing verdicts" was developed like a raging fire among the populous, and Mao's failing health was putting the country in an ambivalent direction. At that time, with so much instability, who would dare to say Beijing would have an earthquake? If the earthquake did not come, who would be held accountable and be made to look like a fool for making a false prediction? Therefore, although many earthquake experts and local earthquake office staff members made forecasts stating that the Tangshan area would experience an earthquake at the end of July or beginning of August, the governmental body did not feel convinced. They obviously had political pressure, and they did not dare to move promptly, so they continued sending experts to Tangshan for "further investigation." Six of these experts ended up being killed due to the earthquake in Tangshan City.
Another forecast called the "Qinglong County Miracle," honored by the United Nations, had acknowledged experts' forecast suggestions (unofficial forecast on behalf of expert personal opinion) and took action promptly, resulting in an entire county escaping death. The accomplishment was treated by the United Nations as a classic example of human ability to reduce disaster. The earthquake in Qinglong County damaged 180,000 houses, collapsed over 7,300, but only one person died out of 470,000 people in the entire county. Detailed records of this historical event can be found in the book Tangshan Caution Record by Zhang Qingzhou.
Our analysis of the phenomenon of failing to report earthquake forecasts coalesces with the apparent benefit of the policy-makers. Obviously, the more one gives weight to the life of people, the lower the earthquake probability is required to make a public forecast; and, when one puts political security first, the higher the earthquake probability is required for a forecast. Because of this situation, people did not dare broadcast earthquake predictions due to political pressure, and subsequently failed to report them.
As the saying goes, "History tends to repeat itself." 2008 is the year of the Olympics in Beijing, and the Olympics, as well as the Olympics torch relay, are political events to the CCP. We can almost hear echoes from the Chinese Politburo: "How much assurance do you have? Can you take the political responsibility of a false report, which would affect our Olympic Games?" - Without 100% assurance, who would have the courage to take on the political pressure and issue the forecast? As such, the experts had to be more careful, more detailed, and go deeper in seeking for a definite prediction and to analyze the potential effects of their prediction - what result would it cause? This twisted political pressure has caused huge loss of life and property!
What is deplorable is that what the CCP learned from the historical tragedies of the Tangshan and Wenchuan earthquakes was not a lesson, but experience - it found that failing to report predictions provides a minimum risk to the party. The CCP authorities control all rescue resources. The "national disaster relief" movement launched by the CCP after disasters always obtains "comprehensive victory" in earthquake relief work, causing political progress for the party, and deceiving people into having faith in the party. This "progress" further strengthens the CCP's methods, sowing the seeds for similar man-made disasters in the future. This is the CCP's view of human life.
We see that, after the Sichuan and Gansu Earthquake Bureau sent analysis and predictions prior to the recent earthquake, the CCP refused to let the people know, refused to take the initiative in reinforcing school buildings with safer construction, and made an effort to conceal prior knowledge of the earthquake. In fact, if the government dealt with the predictions appropriately, it would not cause a large panic among the populace. However, what does the CCP do? On one side, it continues the propaganda, creating a mirage of a "harmonious and stable situation," hypes the Olympics, and hypes the torch relay. The current situation, overall, is generally not so good, but incomparably good when matched next to less prosperous times. On the other side, however, the CCP acted in a surreptitious manner, and, according to news publicized by the Chinese Earthquake Bureau education network, led the Chinese Earthquake Bureau Monitor Forecast Office in secretly holding earthquake information security knowledge training classes in Hangzhou from April 23 to 26. The report states: "Earthquake information security has a critical impact on the political society. The responsibility is significant. In view of the currently complex and stern signs of the earthquake situation, make sure you complete your earthquake information security job well, ..." Pay attention to where it mentions "currently complex and stern signs of earthquake situation," of which it clearly indicated a severe of earthquake situation. The Chinese Earthquake Bureau not only did not do well in the proper business of earthquake prediction, which had a huge affect on people's lives, they even strictly kept it a secret, for fear that revealing the earthquake situation would damage the CCP's political matters.
The CCP's view of human life is "politics first." Because of the influence from atheistic ideas, the CCP does not treasure life. "Kill 200,000, trade for 20 years of stability" is a CCP motto. It does not take the common man's life seriously. After the earthquake, the CCP made up stories to conceal evidence of their knowledge about the imminent Earthquake. A government that truly cares about human life takes disaster prevention as its top priority.
In terms of earthquake predictions, if the CCP could disregard petty political factors, then the Chinese people's safety and livelihood would certainly be safeguarded.