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Giant Beijing Rainstorm Triggers Citizens' Anger

Rainstorm exposes flaws in Beijing infrastructure
The heaviest rain in more than 60 years pounded Beijing on Saturday, leaving at least 37 people dead.
The heaviest rain in more than 60 years pounded Beijing on Saturday, leaving at least 37 people dead.Photograph by ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images

The worst rainstorms to hit Beijing in more than 60 years have left a trail of destruction, with buildings collapsed, major roadways submerged, and at least 37 people killed, including one man who drowned in his car under a flooded bridge. The 20-hour storm that started July 21 and lasted until the early hours of the next day has sparked widespread anger over the government’s handling of the crisis, focusing on the poor preparedness of officials and the state of public infrastructure, as well as the lack of any prior government warning to the populace.

“To those responsible, where were you that night?” asked Beijing real estate tycoon and popular blogger Pan Shiyi, writing on July 23 on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter-like microblogging service. “The cadres only go abroad for study, but not to the streets to inspect,” wrote outspoken blogger Li Chengpeng, also commenting on the lack of official preparation for the floods, on Sina Weibo.