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Communicating disaster

The government and media responses to the tragic earthquake in Sichuan province show that open access to information has greatly improved in China. But there is still more to communicate, writes Jia Hepeng.

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China has significantly improved its information flow in the wake of the 8.0 magnitude earthquake that hit southwest China’s Sichuan province on May 12, which on May 20 had claimed more than 40,000 lives. 

The 24-hour television news broadcasting and daily newspaper reports on the catastrophe and the rescue efforts, which came 12 days after new regulations on open government information took effect, have been widely praised by scholars and the international media as a symbol of China’s huge progress towards greater openness.

However, before we reach the conclusion that this new ruling has permanently improved the opening of information flows (leaving aside whether this constitutes transparency or not), additional measures and efforts are needed. And some of these measures must be implemented not only by government officials, but also by a wide range of people engaged in the process of communication.

One major such measure is to cover all information, not simply the information that benefits the information producers – primarily the government departments.

In the case of the Wenchuan earthquake, less than half an hour after the quake took place at 2.28pm on May 12, news of the quake from the China Earthquake Administration appeared on major Chinese news portals. It has subsequently been updated regularly on many Chinese websites.

In the following days, journalists were seen accompanying the first batch of rescuers, reporting from the collapsed buildings, the ruined villages, the devastated factories and twisted roads. Access for journalists, including the international media, saw almost no restrictions.

We should praise this lack of restrictions and also note how quickly the government responded to the natural disaster. The free access to information and widespread reporting has helped to show a very positive profile of the government. Hearing the touching and sincere speeches of premier Wen Jiabao at the ruins frequently brought tears to my eyes.

But there is more to communicate. There are many further reflections we should make, including reporting on possible man-made errors. These may include the poor construction of schools in the region and the impacts that the many dams along the Minjiang, or Min River, may have had on landslides caused by the quake.

We currently do not know whether the 100-plus dams along the river, which slowed the water flow and increased the amount of water in the soil and rocks on which urban and rural buildings were erected, have made landslides more common. But thorough research and investigation, as well as a wide-ranging discussion of the issues, are definitely needed.

It is worth mentioning that despite sporadic mentions of the possible impacts of the dams in media reports about the earthquake, no in-depth exploration of the possible links has been made. This is not only because of the lack of reliable information, but also because at the current stage, the consensus among rescue and media workers is to prioritise life-saving efforts, rather than apportioning blame for the disaster.

In one sense, this illustrates that when information flows freely, it will not necessarily lead to anyone making trouble: most people involved in the production of information and its transmission have the necessary ethical and pragmatic standards. And for the same reason, there is no need to worry about possible chaos if post-quake investigations into man-made errors are performed in an open and participatory manner. In a healthy society, public criticism of perceived government faults in various media can lead to constructive solutions, solutions that are often founded on the careful balancing of risks and benefits.

More institutional efforts

Aside from tolerating potentially critical reporting, many other institutional efforts are needed to ensure the free flow of information.

An open information policy does not only mean providing more information in a one-sided way, with no restrictions on access for journalists during natural disasters. Rather, it should represent an institutional way to facilitate the media and the public’s reasonable inquiries. This should include the timely provision of reliable and authoritative experts to reporters, the positive response to and interpretation of controversial information, and the training of officials and scientists to deal with the media. Reporters often demand quick and simple explanations, rather than a whole set of theories.

After the SARS outbreak in 2003, a spokesperson system was established across central and local government departments and major social institutions. While this has significantly improved the amount of information produced by the government, sometimes journalists find it more difficult to get the information they want because officials they approach simply turn to spokespersons, who often do not respond to interview applications, or not in a timely fashion.

A spokesperson is never omniscient, and it is understandable that he or she will not be able to handle all types of information. But they should become a medium to bridge journalists, scientists and officials in their separate institutions – rather than a blockage in the flow of sensitive or elusive information. It is important to note that in a diversified society, media – and the public they should represent – not only receive large amounts of information from the government, but are also a factor that helps the production and flow of essential information that is relevant to the public interest.

This open information flow, however, does not simply emerge from the efforts of government and other institutions. Media, including the press and online publications, should play a role in ensuring the flow of accurate information.

On May 12, minutes after the quake, many Beijing residents were startled to read stories – reportedly originating from people.com.cn -- that a 2 to 6 magnitude earthquake was very likely to hit Beijing between 10pm and midnight that evening.

The authoritative China Earthquake Networks Centre soon denied the rumours and seismologists later explained that the predictions could not have come from a seismologist, because experts classify earthquakes smaller than a magnitude of 5 as small, while those larger than 5 are considered large. No professional seismologist would ever mention earthquakes of such differing magnitudes in the same statement.

We cannot judge whether this rumour was intentionally created or resulted from the misinterpretation of scientific opinion, but we do know that healthy and responsible professionalism for media workers – especially website editors – requires double-checking essential information of this kind with authoritative departments. If they had done so, it would have been easy to avoid such confusing and shocking information being released. It is undeniable that media professionalism needs to be improved, but it is also true that without positive efforts from the officials to deal with sensitive information, media professionalism cannot be cultivated in practice.

It is not easy for senior officials to accept open criticism, for experts involved in information to become adept at communicating with journalists, or for the media to accurately judge all information. But, as the Wenchuan earthquake has proved, opening information flows can bring such benefits that everyone engaged in the process should be working hard to achieve these goals.

Jia Hepeng is the China Regional Coordinator for Science and Development Network (SciDev.Net), a source of free news, views and analysis about science and technology in the developing world, as well as a promoter of science communication in the developing countries.

Homepage photo by wang qian 02/13/86

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Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

"不在沉默中爆发,就在沉默中灭亡。"

谢谢Yang bin先生"转贴从网上一段反驳文字,希望对澄清事实真相有帮助".

我们从中看到几点:

1 李勇教授说:"国家自然科学基金委连续六年拿出资金专题来进行龙门山逆冲和走滑作用的研究。"

可是对于多次精确预报了地震的耿庆国,国家为什么不出钱支持他的研究?为什么至今中国地震局不承认收到过耿庆国(4月30日)和陈一文(5月3日)曾去信作出过准确震前预报呢?

2 为什么至今大陆媒体对此一致漠不作声呢?

为什么所谓的"人民代表"对次一言不发呢?

为什么有关的讨论文章被有系统地从论坛和博客被删除掉呢?这不是公然践踏[宪法]第35条保障公民的言论自由的违法行为吗?

21世纪的中华民族难道还要再一次沉沦于指鹿为马的荒谬之下吗?

3 既然在中国国家自然科学基金和美国的基金的支持下,6位科学家作出了地震预测,为什么研究成果只在美国的[地壳]杂志上公布,而中国人民却在汶川大地震之才从美国[国家地理]的报道中得知这一成果呢?有关政府部门是什么时候知道它的呢?采取了什么行动为此作出防范措施了吗?

taodax
08-05-26

re: comment by Yang bin

Thanks go to Yang bin for citing a blog to help clarify the issue.

I see several points from the citation: First, Prof. Yong Li has said a special fund had been allocated for six years in row for the research of rock thrust and slide of Longmen Mountain. However, why has China not supported the research by Qingguo Gen, who has precisely predicted earthquakes?

How can the China Seismological Bureau deny having accepted the letters sent by Qingguo Gen on April 30 and Yiwen Chen on May 3 of precise forecasts of the Wenchuan quake.

Secondly, how can the media in Chinese mainland keep quiet and not report this? Why did the deputies of the people keep silent about this?
And why have some related articles been deleted from blogs and online forums? Are not all these blatant infringements of the Constitution's regulation 35 governing the freedom of speech?

Does this mean the Chinese nationality has to be dragged into another absurd argument of calling black the color white in the 21th century?

Thirdly, Why has the adacemic paper, jointly researched by China, US and EU, been published only by the US magagine Tectonics? And Chinese people can only access the information after the fact. When did related official departments become aware of the forecasts and had they taken any preventive measures? Taodax

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

地震预测

Tectonics杂志刊登了很多有关讨论该报告的文章,以及为什么'所受威胁'没有受到重视。 这份17页的报告链接如下:[http://www.geography.dur.ac.uk/documents/densmore/densmore_etal07.pdf ]
即使该报告提交给政府,也不会敲醒警钟。该项研究调查了一段较长时间内的地震活动。该研究主要集中追溯到一万一千五百年前的全新世时期,但它还探讨了在此之前几百万年的更新世的地貌。参与该研究的科学家也把一个长达六千五百万年新生代时期作为一个整体。

虽然研究得出结论认为, “断层虽然足够长可以带来地面的震动,使它们成为区域地震灾害潜在的严重来源”但它没有说明可能发生的日期以及即将发生的地质变动。事实上,该文件,虽然明确表示该地区容易发生地震,但是在一个很长的地质时间内。该报告说:“北川和彭灌断层在最近的更新世以及其他一些地区在全新世已经经历了地表断裂。”

Earthquake 'prediction'

There has been much discussion relating to the paper published in Tectonics magazine and why the ‘threat’ wasn’t heeded. The 17 page report, [http://www.geography.dur.ac.uk/documents/densmore/densmore_etal07.pdf] even if presented to authorities, would not have rung alarm bells. The study looked at seismic activity over a long time scale. The primary focus was on the Holocene epoch which stretches back 11,500 years, but the study also looked at geomorphology covering the Pleistocene epoch which covers the previous million years. The scientists involved also looked at the Cenozic era as a whole, a 65 million year period. Although the study concludes that “the faults are sufficiently long to sustain a strong ground-shaking earthquake, making them potentially serious sources of regional seismic hazards”, it sets no future date and does not suggest imminent geological disturbance. In fact the document, while making it clear that the area was prone to earthquakes, it places this onto a long geological time line. “The
Beichuan and Pengguan faults have experienced surface rupture during the latest Pleistocene and at some locations during the Holocene” the report says. Ba Jin [巴金]

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匿名 | Anonymous

[中国环境危机三定律]发表一周年讨论

taodax 08-05-27

2007年5月30日,在和网友讨论关注水危机话题时,一个思想闪电般地击中了我:"哪里没有人民的选票,哪里的河水就会发臭."这不仅是10年来到处亲身遇到的事实,也是在网上三年"关注水危机"研究的结果.

去年5月份以前,太湖是唯一不断传来治理取得进展的好消息的湖泊,2000年的"零点计划"实现,863科技治理成功,经济治理机制的"太湖模式"的建立,.....最终.4月29日无锡自来水流出的臭水冲破了这一神话的泡沫.

第二定律随之而来:"没有民主制度,人民就得不到可靠的消息",我对"信息"的关注来源于1978年读到的一本书: [维纳著作选],其中有一句印象深刻的话:"要有效的生活就要有足够的信息",当时似懂非懂的这句话使我一直在收集有关信息的思想.30年来我终于形成了明确的看法,民主制度是一个高效核实信息的体系,它最初产生于人类普遍的需求,人类社会的生存与发展与信息核实的水平密切相关,而信息是分成五种:知识,观点,政策法律,事实,数据。

在中国历史上有大量的成语是关于核实信息的:周朝有千金买一笑的周武王,,战国有抗木头取信于民的商鞅,有三人成虎的魏惠王,秦朝有指鹿为马的赵高,汉代就有了成语实事求是,宋代有成语盲人摸象....中国的历史充满了计谋和欺诈的故事,这些悠久的传统文化使我们的民族比其他民族更容易理解虚假信息是怎么回事. [三国演义]里的草船借箭,借东风,蒋干盗书,苦肉计,空城计...人们在歌颂那些大智大勇的英雄计谋. [西游记]里的孙悟空更是信息核实的专家和鼻祖:他善于调查妖魔鬼怪的来龙去脉,上天入地去找到它们的克星,他所编织的信息核实网,快速,准确,高效,是人类对未来信息时代最早的畅想.

落后制度导致信息混乱,进而导致环境崩溃,---这一思想的突破来自有阅读贾瑞.戴蒙德的 [崩溃]一书(台湾翻译[大崩坏]),一个高度发展的文明竟然会一个又一个地由于人为的疏忽而崩溃:6000年前由于错误的灌溉方法而崩溃的苏美耳文明,它的遗迹被深埋在巴比伦文明遗址之下,近代才被重新发现.十六世纪自行消失的玛亚文明,原因有:人口过剩资源短缺,森林砍伐,农地减少,国王和贵族熟视无睹,环境和资源问题引发内部冲突...(P218-219[大崩坏]),复活节岛在1500年前后把森林砍伐殆尽,走上了生态自杀的绝路.

最近的惊人例子是苏联的崩溃,主要的原因是制度僵化和信息封闭,受到长期束缚的前苏联人民最终抛弃了这一开始于75年前的不幸地失败了的实验.

[中国环境危机三定律]就这样完成了自己的关键逻辑过程,俯瞰着6000年人类的轨迹,聚焦于近60年来中国的历史经验---1959-1961大跃进-大饥荒,1958引黄灌溉失败,1961三门峡工程失败,1975板桥水库群垮塌,(上,未完待续)

China’s environment crisis (part one)

During my discussion of water crisis with internet users in May 2007, some thoughts came into my mind. One of them is "where there are no votes of the people, where the rivers will stink. "This is true to my experience of the last ten years and the tap water pollution in Wu Xi is a typical case.

Secondly, I have to say that without democratic system, the public cannot obtain reliable information. I was influenced and deeply impressed by Norbert Wiener’s version: to live effectively is to live with adequate information. Democratic system is an effective mechanism for information checking. There are a big number of idioms to tell the information-checking stories in ancient China. This cultural background enables the Chinese people to have a better sense of what is false information.

The human society has been longing for an information era when timely, accurate and highly efficient access to information is a reality. Backward system will bring in confusing information and even ensuing collapse of the environment. I was enlightened by the book, written by Jared Diamond, entitled Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. A highly developed society can even fall to collapse after human’s neglect of problems one by one. There are many historical events to prove this, including the collapse of Sumerian and Maya civilizations, as well as the fall of Soviet Union.

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

支持Yang Bin

质疑是好的,但是没有根据的质疑会引起混乱和谣言。从美国国家地理杂志获得这篇文章的信息之后,我从网上找到了这篇文章,从中并没有找到任何关于预测日期的信息,限于水平有限,我把文章转给了地学的朋友,她也并不认为这是一篇有效的预测文章。
顺便说一下我对taodax质疑的看法。对于耿庆国,我目前没有看得足够严格的证据说明他真的预测到了地震。科学理论的诞生,是从数据分析,归纳,建模中来的,如果他建立的模型,能够被实验或者事件验证,具有可重复性,那么,我们可以承认他是科学的。并不是挂一个科学家的头衔,说出来的话就是科学的,正确的;对于在中国自然科学基金支持下的研究为什么发在美国杂志上,这个详尽解释起来你也不明白,用两句话来说,叫:科学无国界和隔行如隔山。有关部门是什么时候知道它的呢?我想,在这篇文章发表前,有关部门就知道了,因为两位中国的参与者都是从有关部门出来的啊。防范措施也做了,1978年唐山大地震后中国就开始执行抗震设计法例,执行力度不强,是政府的问题。
taodax老弟,套用一句话送你,这句话曾经在传圣火的时候用得很多,那就是:不要从新闻里面去寻找真相。
- Aturen

Support Yang Bin

It is fine that you have doubts, but baseless doubts will lead to confusion and rumours. I found the academic paper from the internet and there are no precise dates for predictions of earthquakes in the paper.

I forwarded the paper to one of my friends who studied geology. She does not think there are effective forecasts in it neither.

Regarding Qingguo Gen, I have yet to see any enough and concrete evidence to show he has accurately predicted earthquakes. If the modules established by Qingguo Gen can be proved through experiments or facts, then we can say his predications are up to scientific level.

Scientists are defined more by the scientific work they do, rather than the title they have.

There are no national boundaries in scientific information, that is part of the reason why the paper was published by a US magazine.

I believe that Chinese official departments had already been aware of the paper before its publishing. As you know, two of authors are experts from China.

China had started to implement the regulation on anti-earthquake housing design in the wake of the 1978 Tangshan quake. However, it is the responsibility of the government to implement the regulations strictly.

Taodax, I would like to tell you "try not to get facts from news reports". This was also true during the recent torch relay.

--Aturen

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

[中国环境危机三定律]发表一周年讨论(下)

(接上文)1976年唐山大地震漏报,1958-1978人民公社失败,1966-1976文化大革命浩劫.近年浮现出来的危机有:50年来植树治沙的失败,10年600亿治理淮河污染的失败,47亿治理滇池污染的失败,100亿治理太湖的失败,SARS,禽流感,猪蓝耳病,手足口病,艾滋血祸,奥美定-假医假药-郑筱萸案,粮食造假-耕地减少问题,拉尼娜预报之谜,还有最新的汶川地震预报之谜....

哪个民族可以承受我们所背负的这么多公共政策之谜呢?

taodax
[全文完]

China’s environment crisis (part two)

During the past 60 years in China, typical examples in China included the Great Leap Forward Movement and the Great Famine from 1959 to 1961, the failure of diverting Yellow river for irrigation in 1958, the Sanmeixia project failure in 1961 as well as the Cultural Revolution. Is there any country in the world which has experienced so many secretive public polices as China has?

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

追寻真相是每一个公民的天赋职责

Aturen先生:

我一个人近来收集整理和发出的有关震前预测的信息已经超过了全大陆的成千上万家官办媒体(再加上凤凰卫视)的总和;这就是2008年与1958年的不同,这就是互联网时代发生的先进技术+个人公民行动的奇迹!这是官媒的耻辱,是我个人的骄傲.

回想近60年来的人为灾难,都是30-40后才慢慢浮上公共的论坛,这不仅使被垄断权力腐败了的的官僚层逃避人民的监督,也使历史的悲剧因得不到总结和教训而一再重演.

对历史的失误,人们是否敢于正视,是否能从中汲取教训,不同制度下的民族有不同的命运.如果连如实报道的机会都被剥夺,事件发生的真相就也随之淹没在历史的尘埃之中,更谈不上从人民遭受的痛苦中提炼经验了.1959-1961年大跃进-大饥荒的惨剧直到今天才刚刚开始得到真实的报道和讨论.正如鲁迅所说的:"人类的血战前行的历史,正如煤的形成,当时用大量的木材,结果却只是一小块,...",

[宪法]第35条是全人类历史经验的结晶,没有基本的公民言论自由权利的保障,人民的生命就要受到牺牲,社会就要付出高昂的代价.

香港杂志[亚洲周刊]08-05-24对耿庆国作了独家专访:[越是大地震越容易预测。]作者:江迅,香港[东方日报]08-05-26采访了中国地球物理学会天灾预测专业委员会顾问陈一文,[专家踢爆地震局谎话连篇] .自由制度下的中国媒体正在为13亿人民追寻着真相.

我的博客里已经收集了20条有关线索,[汶川地震震前信息汇编20条],需要大家一起行动去核实,既然官办的媒体对此类消息一致沉默以待,这一核实的重任就落在千千万万的自觉行动的公民身上.请大家都来关注和参与.

blog taodax 08-05-27

taodax

To search for truth is a duty of every citizen

Mr. Aturen:

The earthquake-forecasting information I collected and forwarded has exceeded the amount issued by thousands of state-owned media in Chinese mainland and by the Phoenix TV station. This is a big difference compared to the situation in 1958, thanks to the internet, other advanced communication technologies, as well as my personal efforts. This also indicates the disgrace of the state-owned media.

Debates about the disasters caused by human activities in the past 60 years became only possible during the past 30-40 years. The key issues now are if we can recognize the mistakes in the past and can we learn some lessons from them? If the right to report truth is deprived, the truth will be buried.

The Hong Kong magazine Asia Week has conducted an exclusive interview with Qingguo Gen and the interview was entitled: The stronger the earthquake is, the easier is its prediction. The Oriental Daily in Hong Kong also interviewed Yiwen Chen,
consultant of natural disaster prediction committee of the Chinese Geographical Society. Chen’s interview was published under the title of “Seismological bureau is lying, say experts”

Please refer to my blog taodax 08-05-27 , in which you can find 20 sources to check all related information. This task to find the truth lies in the hands of every citizen.

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

回复:taodax

没看见我回复里的最后一句话?你要是能给我列举出地学相关的五个科学杂志,我就相信你的确有资格去判断地震到底能不能预测。做木工的别指导耕地的;吹牛的别干涉做实事的,术业有专攻,最烦这种外行指导内行的。你老有着闲工夫,去找找科学杂志里有多少个预言了地震的发生,又有几个真正发生了。您应该期盼活在1958年,那时您的前辈郭沫若在做中国科学院院长。
-Aturen

Re: Taodax

I would believe that an earthquake is predictable if you could list five scientific journals which have made such predictions. It is meaningless for carpenters to instruct farmers. And it is inappropriate to chat about and interfere in another’s honest work.

Every profession requires special expertise. What is unbearable is watching lay people trying to instruct professionals.

If you really have lots of spare time, please try to find out any earthquake predictions in magazines and compare them to any actual occurrence as predicted. You should have lived in 1958, when Guo Moruo was President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Aturen

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匿名 | Anonymous

信息核实的体系与人民的性命攸关

Aturen先生:

人人都同意是地球在绕着太阳转,如果有人为此而辩护,也没有谁会要求他列举5本天文学杂志来作为参加辩论的资格;为什么呢?显然是因为,辩论有许多层次,我(和多数人)关注和参加对预测地震的辩论,也处于类似的层次--常识的层次.

当我听到有几个科学家的声音受到了压制,我的耳朵和汗毛就会竖起来.因为,我马上想起了我中学时代在报刊杂志上读过的批判爱因斯坦和"宇宙大爆炸"论的文章,想起了自费追踪艾滋血祸的高耀洁医生和奋起揭穿SRAS谎言的蒋彦勇医生的故事,想起了坚持反对三门峡工程的黄万里教授和批评植树治沙错误的黄秉维先生(他把沙漠中植树形象地称之为“抽水机”)....虽然这些科学家的工作涉及到广泛的专业领域,但有一个共同点是:他们的思想和言论自由受到了非法的压制.

这把我们带入到公共政策的领域和政治的领域,而我和我正在研究公共信息核实理论,(其中有[中国环境危机三定律] [Three laws of inertia for China Environment Crisis])是专门来揭示"专制的制度--封闭的信息--环境与生态崩溃"这三者之间的因果关系的.

具体到我们所讨论的问题上,那就是关于耿庆国和陈一文的震前预报的消息是否受到了疏忽或者压制?国家地震局是否在重复1976年唐山地震漏报的错误?人民对此的高度迫切的关注是否遭到了官办媒体的一致压制?是否有人在违反[宪法]第35条在压制人民的言论自由的权利?人民的知情权是否得到了非法的限制?.....

taodax
08-05-29

Information checking is important

Mr. Aturen,

Everybody agrees that the earth rotates about the sun. So if someone defends this, he or she will not be required to list five astronomical journals to back his or her argument. The majority of people, including me, pay attention to and participate in the debate of earthquake prediction, which is as much common sense as the earth revolving around the Sun.

When I heard that studies by several scientists have been suppressed, my ears pricked up immediately. This reminds me of the articles I read when I was young about the criticism of Einstein and the Big Bang theory.

Other examples also came to my mind of other scientists whose thoughts and theories have been kept from being revealed.

This brings us to the issue of public policies and politics. And part of my research aims to disclose the relations between an arbitrary system, restricted access to information and ecological collapse.

Regarding the Sichuan earthquake, the issue is whether the tremor predictions by Qingguo Gen and Wenyi Chen had been ignored and suppressed? Has the National Seismological Bureau failed to report the predictions, a mistake they made in 1976 prior to the Tangshan Earthquake? Has not the pubic the right to obtain information without restriction?

taodax
08-05-29

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匿名 | Anonymous

耿庆国:“这个地震我追踪了3年以上的时间”

 有消息称地震前有专家进行过准确预测,经本报记者多方证实,中国地球物理学会天灾预测委员会耿庆国研究员预测的是2008年5月~2009年4月,兰州以南,甘、川、青交界地区,可能会发生6~7级地震。该预测明显属于中期预报。而中国地震局有关人士也向《财经》杂志记者证实确有此预报。

  “这个地震我追踪了3年以上的时间,我的预报肯定是真实的。现在救人要紧。”耿庆国研究员在电话里对本报记者说。

---摘自[地问:汶川,科学视角的观察]
[第一财经日报] 作者: 季谭;田毅 2008年05月28日

Qingguo Geng: I have been following this earthquake for over 3 years

It's said that some experts veraciously predicted this earthquake before it happened. Our newspaper proved that the prediction of Qingguo Geng, a member of the Committee of Natural Disasters under the Chinese Academy of Geophysics, predicted a 6-7 earthquake between May 2008 and April 2009 at the cross of Gansu, Sichuan and Qinghai province, south of Lanzhou city. Obviously, that was a medium-phase prediction. Meanwhile, the Chinese Earthquake Office reported this prediction to the "Finance and Economics" magazine.

"I have been following this earthquake for over 3 years, my prediction is definitely true. Now the emergency is rescue the people." Researcher Qingguo Geng said this to a journalist from our newspaper.

--Quoted from [Question of the earth: Wenchuan, a scientific point of view] [Daily of The First Finance and Economics] Author: Tan Ji; Yi Tian, MAy 28th, 2008.

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匿名 | Anonymous

拉尼娜雪灾和汶川大地震--都反映了同一个问题

科学家作出预测后,应该由谁来决定如何公布?也就是怎样使科学技术知识转变为生产力和减灾防灾的能力?

气象局和地震局所得出的科学预测预报:

[1]应考虑直接向人民公布;
[2]应同时向(未来的)民选的议会报告,使相关的议员和议会的专业委员会采取行动督促政府和人民防灾;
[3]应调查这两次灾难前有关的预测预报的去向和处理过程中有什么问题.通过立法来实现制度上的改进.

中外科学家经过长期的追踪,精确锁定了这次大地震并作出了准确预报,这是人类智慧认识并预防自然灾害的重大进展,也反映了其中的缺欠和不足,人们正在从技术和制度两个方面进行深层反思灾害预测预报的得与失,一个科学与民主的大辩论已经开始了:问题的核心是:仔细考察"政治制度僵化--信息核实封闭--灾难袭击频繁"的因果关系链,代之以"民主政治制度--信息核实透明--有效防范灾难"的正面效应.

taodax
08-06-14

Snow Crisis Caused by La Nina Phenomenon and Wenchuan Earthquake--Same in Essence

Who should be the arbitrator of publishing the prediction made by scientists? In other words, how can we transfer the technology and skills into production and ability of preventing and reducing the impact of disaster? There are several steps of publishing the results made by weather association and earthquake association. First, announcing it publicly should be considered. Second, it should be reported to Congress, and then the relative department of Congress should take action to urge government and people to prepare for the disaster. Third, investigate the broadcasting before the two disasters and find where the problem is. Thus, laws and regulations can be set to improve the policy. Scientists around the world predicted the earthquake by long-term tracing and researching. It is a great improvement of cognition and disaster preventing, and meanwhile it shows our disadvantages. We are looking into the gains and losses of disaster broadcasting from the perspective of technology and institution. From now, a debate of science and democracy begins. The point is that, we should adopt the positive sequence—democracy makes good communication, then get effective prevention of disaster, instead of negative sequence—rigid policy lead blocking information, then end in frequent disasters.

(This comment was translated by Stacy Xu.)