After Deadly Train Crash in China, Critics Claim State Cover-Up

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AFP / Getty Images

A damaged carriage involved in a fatal high-speed train collision is prepared for transport in the town of Shuangyu, on the outskirts of Wenzhou in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang, on July 26, 2011

“Do not question. Do not elaborate. Do not associate.” A line that can be directly out of 1984 is actually a directive issued by the Chinese government a few days ago. Critics are more enraged than threatened by it. (via Global Spin)

The U.S.-based China Digital Times reports that immediately after the deadly high-speed train crash, China sent out multiple directives to journalists against probing details of the accident.

“All reports regarding the Wenzhou high-speed train accident are to be titled ‘7.23 Yong-Wen line major transportation accident,’” the order said. “Reporting of the accident is to use ‘in the face of great tragedy, there’s great love’ as the major theme.”

(PHOTOS: Deadly High-Speed Train Crash in China)

Despite the warnings, many journalists and bloggers are raising questions about the conflicting details of the accident.

The initial death toll issued immediately after the crash was 35. The next day it climbed up to 43 with the government claiming to have dug out eight more bodies. Strangely, however, on the third rescue day the count actually went down to 38. Many also say such low final death toll is impossible. Only three more have been added to the initial 35, but the general consensus is that there should be tens if not hundreds more considering that four out of the eight crashed cars plummeted down the 49 ft high bridge. Also, the state media said the first train got struck by lightning and stopped functioning before the second train came crashing. Some question why the malfunction was not notified to the second train.

These are only a few of the many eerie uncertainties about the accident. Many suspect a serious state cover-up. Victims and families are enraged, and distrust of the government is on a steep rise.

Shanghaiist isn’t afraid of criticizing the way government handled the accident. It posted three pictures that show alleged dissembling, burying, and removing of the wrecked train parts. One of the photos had been taken by Chinese journalists and posted on their Sina Weibo page. It quotes a Shinkansen expert’s interview with Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV.

“To get to the root of any problem, it’s very important to keep the site as it is. You can’t just move the train compartments around.” Satoru Sone, a railway expert of half a century, to Phoenix TV. “Disassembling the trains and burying them — that’s just unbelievable.”

See more about the dissent over the train crash at Global Spin.