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China Restricts Reporting on Guangxi Bombings


A damaged room in a residential building is seen after several locations were targeted with parcel bombs in the southwestern city of Liuzhou, Guangxi province, Sept. 30, 2015. (REUTERS/String)

A damaged room in a residential building is seen after several locations were targeted with parcel bombs in the southwestern city of Liuzhou, Guangxi province, Sept. 30, 2015. (REUTERS/String)


Chinese officials are trying to limit reporting about the deadly bombings this week in Guangxi Province. At least seven people died in the attacks. More than 50 others were injured.

China’s central propaganda department released an order on Thursday. It limits reporting on this week’s bombings in Liuzhou by all Chinese media, including on social media.

Officials have barred the media from sending reporters to Liuzhou, the city where the bombs exploded. The media also are barred from publishing special reports on the attacks. Another government agency has banned the use of close-up pictures of the damage caused by the explosions.

The order said that Chinese media should “republish only authoritative sources such as Xinhua News. Violators must immediately” do what the notice directs, it said, and must remove already-published stories about the explosions.

The orders were republished on China Digital Times, an independent news agency that reports on official restrictions.

The government also moved to restrict search keywords related to the bombings or the suspect on news websites and on social media, such as Weibo.

Critics say that Chinese officials often try to limit the spread of bad news or unconfirmed reports. Their efforts increase when incidents happen at a sensitive time. The bombs exploded just before China’s National Day celebrations.

The officials also fear that news about the bombings could cause political problems or make people believe that the government is not able to keep them safe.

Willy Lam is a Hong Kong-based writer and studies China’s politics. He says the bombings are, in his words, “one more example of disgruntled citizens using private and very violent means to vent their frustration because they have no recourse to justice.” He says judges in China are strictly controlled by the government.

Many Chinese do not believe the country’s justice system is fair. Mr. Lam says that is especially the case in rural areas, where the bombings took place. He says courts in such areas are probably under the control of China’s Communist Party.

I’m Christopher Jones-Cruise.

Joyce Huan reported this story. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

close-up picture – n. a photograph or video taken very close to an object or person

authoritative – adj. having or showing knowledge about a subject

search keywords – n. words that are used to find information in a piece of writing, in a computer document or on the Internet

sensitive – adj. likely to cause people to become angry or concerned

disgruntled – adj. unhappy and annoyed

vent – v. to express (an emotion) usually in a loud or angry way

frustration – n. a feeling of anger caused by being unable to do something

recourse – n. an action taken to deal with a problem or situation

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