China has recently released an investigation report and its responsibility for the serious loss of life and property caused by the July 20th flood in Zhengzhou last year. How much do Chinese people trust this report? Mr. Jiang Feng, a self-media commentator, provided his analysis and commentary in the latest episode of “Jiang Feng’s Talk,” on January 24th.
According to Jiang, China’s final report on the floods in Henan is more about maintaining stability than revealing the truth.
Last week, Chinese authorities suddenly revised last year’s death toll in Henan, increasing it from 302 to 398. However, this correction does not convince people. Last year, there were over 4000 unclaimed cars in Zhengzhou, and now there is still no answer to the death and disappearance of the owners of these cars. In addition, there could be more people drowned on various occasions without a car, so the actual number would be higher.
The investigation report of the Chinese government did not change the death toll of 14 people on subway lines 5 and 6 in the Jingguang tunnel, which is clearly not true. Many surviving videos show the horrors far beyond this number. This then has been widely exposed internationally, and the disparity in the number of deaths is so large, it will inevitably lead to a new wave of public backlash.
The second point is that China’s investigation report deliberately ignored the most critical incident of flood discharge from the Changzhuang Reservoir and covered up the people responsible for the incident.
Flooding of subways, especially tunnels, is not a situation where the water is gradually rising from a heavy rainstorm, but a sudden flood. At that time Jiang Feng was doing a program on July 20th; based on live video and Zhengzhou’s geography, he judged that it was caused by the flood discharge from Changzhuang or the surrounding reservoirs, as well as by flood discharge on June 6th. Seven hours later, Xinhua News Agency confirmed the news. They inadvertently exposed the fact that the flood was released early in the morning, so Zhengzhou was flooded without warning.
Jiang added that the top official to be held accountable this time is Xu Liyi , secretary of the Zhengzhou Municipal Party Committee. Jiang wondered if Xu knew about the flood discharge from the Changzhuang Reservoir and who ordered the flood discharge.
Some commentators saw that Xu Liyi was transferred from Hangzhou, and regarded the investigation report organized by the State Council as an effective counterattack by Li Keqiang against Xi Jinping.
On July 21st after the Zhengzhou flood, Xi Jinping gave his first speech. He said Zhengzhou suffered serious waterlogging, water levels in some rivers exceeding alarm levels, and damages to dams of some reservoirs. It is easy for everyone to miss the word “waterlogging.” Of course, it is the responsibility of the city director. Therefore, Xu Liyi ‘s fate was actually decided on July 21 last year. Then the dam failure of the reservoir was obviously to cover up the active flood discharge and deny the responsibility of flood discharge.
In the program “Banqiao Dam Break” of “Today in History”, Jiang Feng described the mass dam failure of the Henan Reservoir. At that time, Liu Jianxun, secretary of the Henan Provincial Party Committee, did not have the right to decide whether to release the flood, Liu directly asked Deputy Prime Minister in charge of State Council- Ji Dengkui; Ji Dengkui went to Deng Xiaoping to ask for instructions. However, Deng Xiaoping was playing a poker game at that time and ignored it. In the end, it caused a huge disaster with the death toll second only to the Tangshan earthquake.
Jiang concluded that at least the top leader of the State Council could make decisions about such a big event as flood discharge. Except for Jiang Chunyun and Hui Liangyu, who are both members of the Politburo, Wen Jiabao and Wang Yang later became members of the Politburo Standing Committee and entered the highest core of power.
However, in June 2018, according to the usual practice, Hu Chunhua handed over power after only half a year as Commander-in-Chief, and State Councilor Wang Yong held the position of Commander-in-Chief. In terms of their actual duties and management authority, they serve a specific Deputy Prime Minister.
According to Jiang, Hu Chunhua is the designated successor for the next generation, Xi Jinping will bring him down from a key position and undermine his administrative ability. Therefore, whether the flood of Changjiang Lake was ordered by Xi Jinping himself or not, Jiang Feng said that it would take many more years to know. However, this decision must have come from the highest level, because Xinhua News Agency reported on the flood discharge in Changzhuang seven or eight hours before the news of the Zhengzhou disaster came out. Therefore, this responsibility, whether it is a direct order or a decision to replace the national defense commander-in-chief, depends on Xi Jinping, the Party Central Committee, not just the State Council.
Jiang said the so-called final investigation report is the final result of removing responsibility for the personnel layout of Xi Jinping and the CCP’s infighting. The report also deliberately eliminated the main causes of the disaster.