Yunnan Ludian 6.5 Earthquake: Online Coverage and Reactions

Rescue workers carrying bodies out of the rubble after the Yunnan Ludian 6.5 Earthquake.


From Sina Weibo:

@央视新闻: #Yunan Ludian 6.5 Earthquake# Earthquake Victims Already Up to 175! 1402 Injured — According to Ministry of Civil Affairs information, the Ludian 6.5 Richter scale earthquake has already caused 175 deaths and 1402 injured (49 dead, 1 missing, 102 injured in Zhaotong city Qiaojia county; 122 dead, 180 missing, 1300 injured in Zhaotong city Ludian county; 4 dead in Qujing city Huize county). (CCTV reporter Li Yumei)

Comments from Sina Weibo:


Just a minute ago, my boyfriend told me he was coming to pick me up from work, but just as I had gone downstairs, he said he had to go, that he was going to Zhaotong to help with the rescue efforts. I walked on the big street all by myself, tears in my eyes. I know this is a soldier’s responsibility/duty, so I can only hope that he will come back safely.


My prayers.


I myself am from Yunnan, and am very shocked, as well as very distressed. However, what I feel more is anger. According to conventional reasoning, a 6.5 earthquake isn’t considered big, and definitely not a deadly earthquake. But that the number of injured and dead are so high shocks me. This truly isn’t just a natural disaster. 90% of the collapsed buildings were rural housing. After so many years, the urban-rural gap is still like this. What happened to the money the government subsidizes to the rural? Don’t just use it to give the buildings an exterior coat of paint every time, just to get by [cursory] checks [by superiors]!!!


There have been too many disasters lately. I grieve for the dead… and pray for blessings for Yunnan. [蜡烛][蜡烛][蜡烛] I pay that there will be no more casualties…


The earthquake was big so this is a natural result. Yunnan’s geographical location dictates that earthquakes will not be occasional, but after all of these earthquakes, that the casualties are still this serious, just shows that this is not a natural disaster, but man-made. Stop saying “the world is merciless but people can help each other”. If a place has an earthquake and the government building doesn’t collapse but the civilian buildings collapse, then the government should blame itself. If a 6.5 happened in Japan or Taiwan, the casualties would not be this serious. Does Japan not have rural areas? Does Taiwan not have poor people?


Everyone is sending their blessings about the earthquake, but are people paying attention to how severe the drought is in Henan? The central plains [of China] is a place that has consistently been neglected/ignored but silently provides food for the entire country. The drought in a lot of places in my hometown is already so bad that people and livestock are in danger of not having enough to drinking water. The consequences of slow/chronic disasters are no better than sudden disasters. I hope everyone will ding this up, so it can get everyone’s attention!


Take the money found in the houses of corrupt officials and use it to build new buildings for the ordinary common people, and build them diligently.


I agree with the comments below [previous comments]. Why are there this many casualties from a 6.5 earthquake? China is the world’s second largest economy, but…what are the buildings like in the rural countryside and remote areas where most of the people live? When will those who got rich first bring up those after them? When will the wealth gap improve?


I just don’t get it, just what is the earthquake bureau doing? Is it of any use at all? When have they ever actually predicted [an earthquake] in advance [to give warning], even if it was a suspicion or whatever. Every time there is a slightly big earthquake, people die. This bureau, really, I have no words for it, and yet it keeps having the people fund it [provide them a living]. Also, for a 6.5 to have this many dead, this many casualties, just what kind of environment/surroundings is it, what kind of buildings? Ding this up.

鲁鲁酱-: (responding to above)

The earthquake bureau is not as simple as you think it is! There it a single earthquake bureau in the entire world that can be as prescient as you think they are supposed to be! The one and only earthquake that was predicted was the China Liaoning Haicheng earthquake. The one and only time. I beg you to stop being a keyboard warrior making petty criticisms. Did you grow a brain just to look taller? In all likelihood, you’re also a brainless uneducated diaosi. [鄙视]

Rescue workers carrying bodies out of the rubble after the Yunnan Ludian 6.5 Earthquake.

The Yunnan Ludian Earthquake is still a trending topic and trending #hashtag# on the Sina Weibo social network. Below are some of state-broadcaster CCTV’s updates on the microblogging platform that also broke into the top 10 of the day they were made…

From Sina Weibo:

@央视新闻: @央视新闻: #Yunan Ludian 6.5 Earthquake# Number of Dead Rises to 379 — As of 7am today, the earthquake has already caused 379 deaths, with 302 from Zhaotong city Ludian county, 1 from Zhaoyang district; 66 from Qiaojia county; 10 from Qujing city Huize county. ② Niulan River has become a damned lake, threatening rural resident lives and property. ③ The Ludian earthquake area is forecasted to have thunderstorms over the next three days, and people are reminded to be on the guard for geological scourges [mudslides, ground collapses] ④ Shale Highway has been cleared/reopened, and disaster relief supplies are currently en route to the disaster area. Ludian jia you!


From Sina Weibo:

@央视新闻: @央视新闻: #Yunan Ludian 6.5 Earthquake# Number of Dead Rises to 381, Zhaotong Blood Banks Ask For Help! — ① As of 8am today, the number of dead has reached 381, with 302 from Zhaotong city Ludian county, 1 from Zhaoyang district; 66 from Qiaojia county; 12 from Qujing city Huize county. ② China’s earthquake bureau has elevated the emergency response level to this earthquake. ③ Zhaotong blood banks are in a state of emergency! And calls on everyone to go donate blood at the downtown Zhaotong blood bank blood donation office or mobile blood donation unit. Contact number: 0870-2235613/2235632.


From NetEase:

Yunnan Ludian Earthquake Feature: Father Sends Off Killed Young Son

2014 August 8, Yunnan Zhaotong Ludian, Mao Shenggong’s pillow was the first to be exposed after rescue workers arrived and spent nine hours before finally breaking apart the concrete. Father Mao Changxue jumped down and with the pillow in his arms, began painfully crying. When rescue workers slowly moved the concrete roof aside, everyone discovered that the entire floor had collapsed on the bed son Mao Shenggong was sleeping on, and the couple [parents] immediately fall apart at the sight. Everyone at the scene was silent, while husband and wife wailed: “We failed you, we failed you!” For the last time, the father carried his “sleeping” child in his arms.


“Hurry, we must get home, our son is still sleeping at home!” The very moment the earthquake hit, Mao Changxue and his wife were at Ludian county Longtoushan town selling pastries. Mao Changxue’s first reaction was to shout at his wife to hurry home. Husband and wife ran the entire 500 meters home. Arriving in front of their home, the couple were stunned. The home before their eyes had already become a pile of rubble. “Our son is still inside! Quick, dig!” Mao Changxue and wife ignored the aftershocks and dug with their bare hands… At night, it rained, but husband and wife continued digging in the rain all night.


This night was the most torturous night of their lives. When day broke, nearby villagers came and helped. No one said anything, as seven or eight villagers cleared the rubble with their bare hands, digging out item by item, including their son Mao Shenggong’s toys. His wife silently shed tears but continued digging into the rubble. Photo is of Mao Chengxue holding the little pillow dug up from the rubble, wanting to smell his son.


After nine hours of searching barehanded for his child in the rubble, Mao Changxue’s hands are covered in blisters, but compared to the pain in his heart, they are nothing.


Mao Changxue silently sobs over the loss of his child, the pain in his heart indescribable.


Mao Changxue changes his son into clean clothes, sending his son off one last time.


Little Shenggong’s hand had gradually lost its warmth in the rubble.

From NetEase:

伤心男人心 [网易江苏省连云港市网友]:

Child, may you be happy in heaven. Why couldn’t the earthquake kill those corrupt officials~~~~

ailulu0806 [网易山东省青岛市网友]:

The child’s little hand, heartbreaking.

清风泛舟 [网易广东省佛山市网友]:

I want to cry. Rest in peace, child. There are no earthquakes in heaven.

听见梦字就想吐 [网易广东省惠州市网友]:

Those who are parents can empathize, with tears flowing.
May the little guy rest in peace. There are no earthquakes in heaven.

zdcl2001 [网易天津市网友]:

Strongly demand that the earthquake bureau be dissolved, and the state funds given to them every year instead be used for improving the anti-seismic measures for rural housing in earthquake-prone areas.

网易广东省佛山市网友 ip:14.23.*.*

Looking at this was heart-wrenching, the poor child! As a father, I almost cried looking at this…

网易广东省揭阳市网友 [省畧號]:

Now that Guo Meimei has been arrested, we can finally donate [to the Red Cross] without worries…

q35916327 [网易河南省郑州市网友]: (responding to above)




Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


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