In past natural and man-made catastrophies, the Chinese government has tried to control the flow of information both inside China and to the outside world. But bloggers and even twitterers are providing all kinds of information on China’s worst earthquake in 30 years that has killed upwards of 10,000 people.
It’s a classic case of citizen journalism that Jeff Jarvis has been preaching for some time over at Buzzmachine.com. People on the ground are questioning why 900 teenagers were buried in the earthquake when their school collapsed. Was it shoddy construction that the government didn’t stop because of corruption?
People posted videos of the damage on Tudou, a major user-generated video-sharing site in China—before it was removed. A large number of people posted on the popular Baidu posting site.
Let’s hope Beijing does better in helping the people of Sichuan province that Washington did in New Orleans. The Chinese bloggers can only shed light on the situation—and pressure on government officials—to move quickly.