Date
16 December 2017
Soldiers involved in Yunnan quake relief work are said to have given to survivors whatever clean water was available, while using muddy water themselves. Photo: Weibo.com
Soldiers involved in Yunnan quake relief work are said to have given to survivors whatever clean water was available, while using muddy water themselves. Photo: Weibo.com

Yunnan rescuers made big personal sacrifices, newspaper admits

Ill-equipped Chinese soldiers have been forced to cook instant noodles with muddy water while searching for survivors of the Yunnan earthquake, Global Times admitted Wednesday after dismissing such reports earlier in the week.

“The soldiers did cook instant noodles with muddy water,” Hao Junshi, deputy head of the editorial team of the newspaper, said on his Sina Weibo account.

Soldiers who were deployed for rescue work offered to survivors whatever clean water was available, while they themselves put up with muddy water, Hao wrote, noting that “it’s their (soldiers’) tradition that never complain under any circumstances.”

He said he apologizes for the incorrect previous reporting by his staff, who had alleged that the claims of soldiers using muddy water were false.

China National Radio first reported on Monday that some rescuers in quake-hit Longtoushan Town had to use muddy water to cook rice and instant noodles.

CCTV and People’s Daily did follow-up pieces later, noting that soldiers offered their clean water and limited food to victims, while they themselves used dirty water and instant cup noodles.

Global Times had initially questioned the reports, alleging that they were made up. It quoted a rescue official on the frontline as saying: “We try to use clean water; the reports do not make any sense.” Rescuers have sterilization kits, the official was quoted as saying, urging the media not to carry reports that undermine the “morale” of soldiers.

But now the latest comments by the newspaper suggest that the earlier source had been wrong and that soldiers had indeed put up with dirty water. 

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JZ/MY/RC

Freelance journalist

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