Propaganda: After the Tianjin Explosions

If there’s a jetset of politicians, press people, propaganda workers etc. who discuss their work-related issues candidly, nation-building propaganda may play a role these days. It’s nothing new, but fashions come and go in waves – these are interesting times. The idea that disaster and death might be successfully used to develop stronger “social cohesion”, stronger and more sustainable nationalism etc. is sometimes noticeable in Radio Ukraine International‘s international broadcasts, and the concept also seems to shine through in Chinese media when it comes to more “ordinary” risks of life, such as the Tianjin explosions, for example. This seems to be nation-building propaganda. Sure, the Ruihai Logistics disaster is a local matter, but it gets national coverage, and Jimmy Lai’s Next Media suggests that a main shareholder of Ruihai were a nephew of former permanent politburo member Li Ruihuan.*) (This should be taken with a pinch of salt however; Nextmedia itself only writes that “there is information” in mainland China that this were so.)

While the CCP appears to be searching for more contemporary (i. e. refined) ways of controlling public opinion, the following is certainly a good sample of the (state) propaganda of choice, while a BBC article describes how less desirable views from the public are removed by the censors.

Xinwen Lianbo on August 13, 
with coverage from Tianjin 
(click picture for video)

Xinwen Lianbo on August 13, (click picture for video)


Main Link: “8-12” Ruihai Company Explosion at Chemical Warehouse at Tianjin Port / Binhai New Area: showing love by searching people, not leaving post Day and Night

Note: Links within blockquotes added during translation.

(Binhai New Area described by Wikipedia.)

Lead: There are two small relocation camps, with two tracing notes on a wall that are particularly eye-catching: “Looking for Pan Ruhua”, and “Feng Guangjie of Yuanda Waiqiang, if he sees this notice, is asked to contact his relatives”. … Behind every notice, there’s a family’s hope. Zhang Yulian is volunteering at the people search. Her job is to help scattered people to reunite with their relatives …

内容提要:在开发区二小安置点,一面贴满了寻人信息的墙格外惹眼,“寻人、潘汝华”“远大外墙的冯广杰,看到信息请及时与亲人联系” ……每一张纸背后是一个家庭的希望,张玉莲是一名“寻人”志愿者,她所作的事情,是帮助失散的人们和亲人团聚……

Tianjin Enorth Net news: In the afternoon of August 14, when Enorth reporter met with 59-year-old Zhang Yulian, she hadn’t been without sleep for one day and one night.

天津北方网讯:8月14日下午,当北方网新媒体记者见到59岁的张玉莲时,她已经一天一夜没合过眼了。

There are two small relocation camps, with two tracing notes on a wall that are particularly eye-catching: “Looking for Pan Ruhua”, and “Feng Guangjie of Yuanda Waiqiang, if he sees this notice, is asked to contact his relatives”. … Behind every notice, there’s a family’s hope. Zhang Yulian is volunteering at the people search. Her job is to help scattered people to reunite with their relatives. “As long as it is needed, we will remain in action,” says Zhang Yulian.

在开发区二小安置点,一面贴满了寻人信息的墙格外惹眼,“寻人、潘汝华”“远大外墙的冯广杰,看到信息请及时与亲人联系” ……每一张纸背后是一个家庭的希望,张玉莲是一名“寻人”志愿者,她所做的事情,是帮助失散的人们和亲人团聚。“只要有需要,我们就行动。”张玉莲说。

From right after the “8-12” Ruihai Company Explosion at Chemical Warehouse at Tianjin Port, Zhang Yulian, who had heard the news on her return from Guangzhou, didn’t hesitate to leave her family in Beichen District and hurried to the two small relocation camps in the development zone. Here, Zhang Yuli, who had done volunteering work in Guangzhou for many years, joined the volunteering ranks [in Binhai New Area].

从天津港危险化学品仓库8.12瑞海公司爆炸事故发生之后,刚刚从广州回到天津的张玉莲刚听到这个消息,没有犹豫就立即从北辰区的家中出发,奔赴开发区二小安置点。在这里,在广州从事很多年志愿服务的张玉莲加入了志愿者的队伍。

I came to the relocation camp on August 13, at noon, and a lot of people are needed for help, as there’s a lot to do.” Zhang Yulian says, “right when I arrived here, I and other volunteers helped conveying supplies and to maintain order.”

“我是13日上午到安置点的,这里需要帮助的人很多,要做的事情也很多。”张玉莲说,“刚来到这里的时候,我和其他的志愿者一起,帮忙搬送物资、维护秩序。”

After a short while, Zhang Yulian found that for many people, after the accident, was to know if their relatives were safe. From the moment Zhang Yulian arrived at the relocation camp, all the time, she could see anxious citizens searching for their relatives. This touched her. I can understand how they feel. After an accident, the most important thing is to know if your family people are well.” Therefore, Zhang Yulian felt that maybe, she could do something more important herself.

没过多久,张玉莲发现,对于很多人来说,发生事故之后,最重要的事情是知道自己的亲人是否平安。从张玉莲到达安置点那一刻开始,几乎每时每刻都能看到焦急寻找亲人的市民,他们的心情让张玉莲感同身受。“我非常能理解他们的心情,事故发现之后,最着急的就是家人是否平安。”于是,张玉莲觉得,或许有更重要的事情要自己来做。

Therefore, beginning at noon on August 13, “people search notes” were collected, and put on a wall at the two relocation camps, it became a place for citizens to post their notices concerning missing people. Dozens of notes were posted here, with the names and  physical descriptions of the missing people, and contact phone numbers. Zhang Yulian firmly stays on her post, she hasn’t slept for one day and one night. To provide convenience to the citizens, Zhang Yulian and other volunteers have paper and pens ready, and every people-search notice is pasted to the wall once written to assist the citizens who pass by, and the volunteers, when getting to other relocation camps, gather information about missing people there, too, register the information, and take it back to the two small relocation camps in the development zone. On every piece of information, the volunteers act on their own initiative, make efforts to spread information through friends circles on We Chat, micro blogs and similar channels, and to mobilize relatives and friends to join the ranks of the volunteers.

于是,从13日中午开始,“寻人信息”开始被搜集,在开发区二小教学楼的一面墙壁上,成为了市民发布“寻人启事”的地方,数十条寻人信息在这里发布,一张张白纸上,写着要寻找的人的姓名、体貌特征和联系人电话。张玉莲就在这里“坚守阵地”,一天一夜没有动过地方。为了给市民提供便利,张玉莲和志愿者们还准备了纸笔,每一条寻人信息都仔细登记后,然后在张贴在墙上,方便来来往往的市民查看,除了有在安置点里的市民前来登记的信息,志愿者们到其他安置点服务的时候,也自发地开始搜集各种寻人信息,然后细心登记核实好,带回到开发区二小安置点中。每收到一条信息,志愿者们就自发行动起来,尽自己最大的努力通过微信朋友圈、微博等渠道将寻人信息传播开来,同时动员身边的亲朋好友一起加入到这个队伍中来。

Since midday on August 13, every message has been retransmitted hundreds of times, and within just a day, this small “people-search wall has helped five families to find lost relatives. Wei Lin is a volunteer at the two relocation camps in the development zone, and by these hand-written notes about missing people, she found her missing mother. That moment  made Zhang Yulian happier than what can be expressed by words. To make information accessible as quickly as possible for citizens coming here, Zhang Yulian hasn’t left her post and doesn’t even move away from it just a bit. Late at night, she would take a nap once in a while. When someone arrives, seeking information, she gets up right away and warmly helps them to write down information, so as to spread the news by all means available.

从13日中午开始,每条寻人信息经过上百次的转发迅速扩散开来,短短的一天时间,这面小小的“寻人墙”已经帮助5个家庭找到了失散的亲人。魏琳是开发区二小的一名志愿者,正是通过这手写的“寻人启事”让她找到了失散的母亲。这一瞬间,张玉莲高兴的心情无法用言语来表达。为了让前来寻找亲人的市民都能最快地了解信息,张玉莲一直守在这里,一步也不敢离开。到了深夜,偶尔才打个盹。一有前来问询的人,她就立即起身,热情地帮助他们登记信息,然后通过各种方式将信息扩散开来。

Among the many search notes, there’s one about a firefighter that particularly worries people: “Hu Yue, male, Tianjin Port Police fire brigade member”. To Zhang Yulian’s sorrow, despite all efforts the volunteers have made to spread information, up to now, no information about this firefighter has been obtained. Firefighters are fighting in the first line of battle, and his family people haven’t been able to contact him. That’s really worrying. It makes me feel particularly anxious, too, because I haven’t been able to help.” Zhang Yulian says that “as a next step, the volunteers are are trying to find broader channels to spread information, hoping to be able to get information about this firefighter as soon as possible.”

在众多的寻人信息中,有一条寻找消防队员的信息格外令人揪心:“胡乐、男、天津港公安局消防大队五支队”,令张玉莲遗憾的是,尽管志愿者们尽了最大力量转发信息,截至目前,还是没有这名消防队员的消息。“消防战士在前线奋战,他的家属一直和他联系不上,非常担心,我也觉得特别着急,觉得自己没帮上忙。”张玉莲说,“接下来,志愿者们正在寻找传播更为广泛的渠道,希望能够早日收到这名消防队员的消息。

Zhang Yulian, who is nearing her mid-fifties [or mid-sixties? – 六旬], isn’t in very good health, hasn’t tired. “I feel motivated, and that keeps me up. I have a responsibility; I have an obligation to do these things,” says Zhang Yulian.

对于年近六旬的张玉莲来说,她的身体状况并不是很好,然而30多个小时的坚守,她并没喊过累,“我觉得有一股动力在支撑着我,我有责任、有义务来做这些事情。”张玉莲说。(北方网新媒体记者晁丹 付文超 董立景 蒲永河)

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Note

*) Hat tip to Gil who mentioned this on his blog earlier today.

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Related

» 只要有1%的希望, Tianjin Daily / Enorth, Aug 14, 2015
» Chemicals not yet determined, Xinhua (English), Aug 14, 2015
» More than 3,500 residents in shelters, BBC, Aug 13, 2015
» At Ease, June 7, 2014

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3 Comments to “Propaganda: After the Tianjin Explosions”

  1. Scrap my first comment.
    Next try.

    Like

  2. As a person with a degree of fire fighting experience (in fact spent four hours on the fire ground this morning), spraying water on a chemical fire (pace BBC reports) is not a great idea. DUH.

    And further more, no one in their right mind should ever consider letting your average firefighter with basic skills near a conflagration like this.

    Basically, no sympathy for anyone involved in the whole gig.

    Give it time, a couple of low level warehouse employees will be jailed and the whole thing will be quietly swept under the commie carpet.

    Like

  3. *Cough* … When do you plan to travel to China next time, Tai De?

    I think the firefighters would deserve sympathy, KT (if that changed a thing). Their “mistake” was to be firefighters in a corrupt dictatorship. You can die for buying a flat in a Chinese-built skyscraper (or three-storey-block, for that matter), just as well.

    Give it time, a couple of low level warehouse employees will be jailed and the whole thing will be quietly swept under the commie carpet.

    Yes,probaboly, unless one of the big guys in the municipal CCP committee is disliked by Xi Jinping, the larger-than-life corruption fighter.

    Like

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