In Shiqiaotou village, Junbu town, Puning city, Guangdong province, the Yang family is reported to be the second richest with assets of over 1 billion yuan.  This extended family with eight siblings occupy a six storey house in the village. 

According to local custom, the fifteenth day of the Lunar New Year is the time for the ceremony of "welcoming the golden flower."  The coming of the "golden flower" is usually accompanied by fireworks set off in front of the house.

At around 7:30pm on the day before yesterday, the "golden flower" team paraded through the village and came to the Yang house.  The family led by the 60-year-old patriach Yang Junshu had purchased several hundred thousand yuan worth of fireworks to be set off in front of the house.  The Yang family did not have a license to do so.  The Yang family also invited their many friends to observe the ceremony.  The sound of the firecrackers and musical instrument also attracted other villagers in Shiqiaotou village, including many children from elsewhere in town.

The fireworks were set off on the open ground about 30 meters in front of the Yang house.  In that space, 14 metal pipes about 20cm in diameter and 1.2m tall can still be found.  These are the shells left after the fireworks are set off.  The local people call these "sky rockets."

Based upon interviews, there appeared to be three versions of what transpired.

1. According to one villager, one of the rockets rose up by just a couple of meters instead of the intended several tens of meters, fell back into the ground, exploded and ignited the remaining fireworks on the ground.

2. According to a 15-year-old who is currently hospitalized, he saw one of the Roman candle tip over to the side.  Thus, instead of sending sparks straight up in the air, it spewed sparks on the remaining fireworks on the ground, triggering the explosions.

3. At a Puning Internet forum, a netizen posted several photos that he claimed to have taken of the fireworks.  He said that firecracker set off the pile of fireworks in front of the house.  The resulting sparks struck a high-voltage wire which in turn ignited the fireworks stored on the fifth floor of the Yang house for the second, bigger explosion.

At present, the Yang house and two other neighboring houses suffered damages.  About 10 meters in front of the house, there is a deep hole about 7 meters in diameter and 2 meters deep.  This was where the fireworks was located.  Eight luxury cars parked in front of the Yang house were destroyed.  The BMW closest to the explosion site is just a steel hulk.

More seriously, 13 persons were found dead at the scene and 56 injured persons were hospitalized.  As of now, 7 more of the injured have died, raising the numbers of deaths to 20.  Among the 49 injured persons, 8 are in critical condition and the other 41 in stable condition.

Yang Junshu and his nephew Yang Keqin are current under arrest.  The Yang family has already deposited 8 million yuan towards the handling of the matter even as the investigation continues.

According to the Lushan county public security bureau, the young man named Wang Yahui was taken away on suspicion of theft on February 18.  On February 21, the police interrogated Wang at the detention center.  "At the time, he said that he was thirsty.  The police poured some boiled water for him, but it was too hot.  Meanwhile another policeman was drinking water mixed with cold medicine and offered the mixed drink to Wang.  When Wang drank this mixed, he reacted badly both physically and psychologically.  He was quickly taken to the hospital where he died."

Wang's family was notified.  They went to the hospital morgue and saw Wang's body.  They found multiple wounds on the body.  The photos showed bruises and wounds on his back and arms.  There was a hole in his head.  His nipple was cut cut.  Even his penis showed injury signs.  This raised many questions with the family.  "The public security bureau told us that he was healthy while in the detention center.  He was healthy while he was interrogated.  But after the interrogation, he experienced a sudden stomach ache and then he died."

The Lunshan county public security bureau chief said that the police officers in charge of the case are suspected of committing a crime while on duty.  He said: "If they committed a crime while on duty, the procuratorate will definitely set up a case for investigation."  He also said that the four police officers have been detained.

Wang's family are working with the police to determine the real cause of death.



The Shanxi Provincial Public Security Department announced on early morning of February 25 that they have put five earthquake rumormongers under administrative detention.  All five admitted readily to their illegal acts.

From the evening of February 20 to early morning of February 21, the earthquake rumors caused many citizens in Jinzhong, Taiyuan, Luliang, Zhangzhi, Yangquan and other places to flee outdoors.  Afterwards, the Shanxi government took action via television, Internet, SMS and other platforms to dispel the rumors and calm things down.  At the same time, the public security departments also investigated the rumor sources.  Here are the details on the five persons.

20-year-old university student named Fu from Shanxi province Shouyang county.  According to the investigation, at 23:15 on February 20, he read some essays about earthquake on the Internet and then he went to the Baidu bar to make a post titled <Read this if you want to live!>: "My dad's friend who works at the State Earthquake Observatory called to say that there is a high likelihood of an earthquake!  The probability is around 90%.  Best of luck to everybody!  This is absolutely authoritative!"  The Shouyang county public security bureau has imposed a five-day administrative detention on this individual.

35-year-old worker named Li in Yuci district, Jinzhong city, Shanxi province.  According to the investigation, at around 17:40 on February 20, he assembled all the rumors that he heard and composed an SMS that said: "How are you?  Attention: Magnitude 6 earthquake to occur before 6pm on February 21."  The Yuci district public security bureau has imposed a seven-day administrative detention on this individual.

20-year-old worker named Han in Taiyuan.  On the morning of February 22, he sent out the news: "Earthquake Administration public notice: There will be an earthquake tonight at 8am.  Please do not pass this around.  But you should prepare well in order to reduce casualties."  The Taiyuan public security bureau has imposed a ten-day administration detention on this individual.

20-year-old worker named Zhang in Beijing.  At around 5 o'clock on February 21, he made multiple posts on <The latest earthquake information in Shanxi> at various Baidu bars in order to increase his traffic hits: "Earthquake news, Shanxi, February 21, 2010: According to official reports, there have been 36 deaths in Luliang with the number of wounded still being tallied; Jinzhong, Taiyuan, Datong and other areas will experience at least 30 aftershocks within the next 72 hours.  The aftershock zone includes Jinzhong, Jinnan in Shanxi, western Shandong province and northern Henan province.  Everybody, please take timely prevention."  The Xiyang county public security bureau has imposed a ten-day administrative detention and a 500 yuan fine on this individual.

24-year-old worker named Zhu in Pingding county, Shanxi province.  According to the investigation, at around 6pm of February 21, he posted for the sake of fun at the Baidu bar: "One million people dead from earthquake in Taiyuan, Zuojuan, Jinzhong, Datong and Zhangzhi in Shanxi province."  The Pingding county public security bureau has imposed a ten-day administrative detention and a 500 yuan fine on this individual.

Here are some netizen comments:

  • This rumor had very bad influence, and seriously disrupted the normal lives of the masses in the affected areas.  These people cannot be punished just by administrative detention.  They need to punished severely for the crimes in order to set an example.
  • I live in Zhangzhi.  On the early morning of February 21, people were scared in the streets.  Nobody dared to go back inside.  This really affected normal work and sleep.  These people couldn't get enough chaos.  Some of them even manufactured rumors in the name of the State Earthquake Administration in order to create social panic.  They ought to be severely punished under the law.
  • My family were also outdoors to escape the earthquake.  I feel that this is a cruel hoax.  It is one thing to jerk young people around, but it is another thing for the young, the old and the sick to go through this.  I feel that these people should be punished severely to make sure nobody does the same in the future.
  • It is common knowledge that earthquakes cannot be predicted beforehand.  So why do people believe in these lies?  Instead of coming out to dispel rumors afterwards, why not think about improving the ability and awareness of the people to recognize rumors?
  • It is actually important to allow these kinds of rumors to run amok.  The resulting chaos is just the social cost for making social progress.  Thus, the result of this episode should teach people more about the predictability of earthquakes and make the government better prepared to communicate with the public.  It is a good thing, and it is also essential.
  • Internet forums such as Baidu lack orderly administration.  They let unverified information be distributed widely without restraint.  They ought to reflect about themselves.  The Internet forums must not become the earth for rumors to be created and distributed.  They ought to recognize their social responsibilities, and improve their self-discipline and supervision.  The destructive power of rumors for social stability is even greater than a real earthquake!


With respect to the earthquake rumor, people who waited for it in the open are mad.  Netizens are angry too as local users have begun human flesh search for the rumormongers.

According to the residents of Taiyuan and Lingshi county, most of them heard them from friends and relatives in the Yuci.  Therefore, they believed that Yuci and Jinzhong are where the rumor first came from.  The residents of Yuci said that they heard the rumor from the Internet, neighbors yelling and telephone calls from friends and relatives.  Nobody knows who was the first to release the information.

The fast food restaurant worker Xiao Shi blamed the Internet.  On the evening of February 20, she read a popular post at the earthquake bar at Baidu, which showed photos from past Shanxi earthquakes and claimed that inside news was that an extra large earthquake was due in Shanxi between midnight and 6am.  Like most Chinese people, Xiao Shi's terror of earthquake was derived from the indelible memory of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake.  So the terrified Xiao Shi called some friends, "I heard that there has been an earthquake in Yuncheng already and we are due to be hit next.  Please tell your family."  Xiao Shi called her parents and sent an SMS to a couple dozen friends.  Then she fled from the cybercafe.

Like Xiao Shi, countless number of people received these SMS and in turn forwarded it to countless others.

During the process of rumor transmission, more details, twists, distortions and exaggerations were added.  Within a few hours, the earthquake rumor was over Shanxi.  There is no way to determine how many versions of the earthquake rumors went out.

During the critical period, the Shanxi Earthquake Administration's website was inaccessible.  In this terror-filled period, many government workers chose to maintain silence.

To some people, this silence only confirmed that veracity of the earthquake rumor.  "When things are so chaotic, the government does not care and nobody says that there is no earthquake, we the people have to think that there will be an earhtquake."  Lingshi resident Zheng Yingyue said. Among the citizens who went outdoors to escape the earthquake, there were many government workers.  According to a police officer and his wife who waited from 1am to sunrise, "During those hours, we didn't know if it was true or not and we didn't know who to ask." Afterwards, the citizens said that they did not see anyone keeping order and they did not see government officials dispelling the rumor.

By comparison, the citizens of Jinzhong saw representatives from the local Earthquake Administration out in the streets as well as large numbers of police officers maintaining public order.  On that night, the Earthquake Administration's phone lines were overwhelmed with calls.  Very quickly, they left half of their staff to man the phones and the other half went to where the crowds were gathered to tell them not to worry about the rumor.  The people slowly dispersed and went home.

A 68-year-old man recalled, "In the villages around Jinzhong, village cadres grabbed bullhorns and yelled that an earthquake was about to hit.  Everybody raced to the plaza.  Later the police came around to say that there won't be an earthquake.  So everybody went home.  It was a false alarm."

According to the Shanxi police, a Taiyuan resident who was the first to spread the rumor has been arrested.  Investigation is continuing.

(China Youth Daily)

"4:30am.  My sister called.  'Uncle called to say that there will be an earthquake shortly.  Get your mother out of bed immediately.'  I was shocked.  I thought about the tragic sights from the Sichuan earthquake.  Even as I got dressed, I was thinking what should I do in the event of an earthquake, like what I should bring (water, flashlight, mobile phone) and where I have safety."

This is the blog post made by university graduate village official Zhao Xiaofei on February 23.  He has written four blog posts so far, titled: "My timeline," "Details and speculations," "The government must react rapidly to emergencies" and "Where did the terror come from?"

In the first blog post, he recalled how he and his family "waited for the earthquake" between 4:30am and 8:00am on February 21 and how he learned about the earthquake.

4:45: "People began to show up in the plaza.  The snack bar was fully seated as people asked each other whether they heard the information and whether this was true.  People knocked on doors to tell friends and relatives."  He turned on the television to check if CCTV or Shanxi Satellite TV had anything, but he found nothing of value.

5:10: he used his mobile phone to search the Internet and "found the situation was similar from Jinzhong to all over Shanxi province."  Ten minutes later, he discovered that "the noise in the village had grown smaller."  He paid special attention to whether "the dogs, chickens and other animals were behaving abnormally."

6:00.  He returns home to wash up, pack his things and go to the county city.  On the bus, everybody was talking about this matter.  He arrived in the county city at 8:00am.  People there reacted even faster.  "The streets were full of people in the middle of the night."  That morning, the Earthquake Administration said that it was a "rumor."

Zhao Xiaofei's story of his 3-1/2 hours is a microcosm of what happened to many people in Jinzhong, Taiyuan, Luliang, Zhangzhi, Yangquan and other places in Shanxi province on the morning of February 21. 

In the second blog post titled "Details and speculations," Zhao Xiaofei listed seven pieces of details.  He discussed issues such as "Who do you believe in the face of terror?" "Should the village cadres broadcast this kind of news?"  "How should the media report this?"  "How does the government dispel such a rumor?"  According to procedure, the village cadres should not disseminate the information because only the provincial government can issue earthquake warnings under the law.  But under normal circumstances, the village cadres should disseminate the information "because it is their major duty to help the people to escape calamity."  But he added that "it would be better to add a technical qualification such as "this does not represent the position of the government."

In the third blog post titled "The government must react rapidly to emergencies," Zhao Xiaofei goes from this event to the general implications on how the government should handle emergencies.  Based upon the principle of "the first four golden hours," he believed that there were problems with how this case was handled.  He recommended that the government has to respond faster in such emergencies.

Xiao Gao lives in Dongyu town, Qingyu county, Shanxi province.  His blog post was titled "Another experience in waiting for an earthquake."  When Xiao Gao was in his second year in elementary school, the same thing happened.  "In the middle of the night, people were yelling about an earthquake.  People got into the streets and did not dare to go back to bed.  They waited several days for the earthquake to happen.  Nothing even happened."

Xiao Gao was due to take the train back to university on February 21.  But he did not get any rest that night.  "4:30am.  My mother woke me up.  She screamed in terror: 'There is going to be an earthquake.  Get dressed.'"  He was surprised.  Then he took a look at the lamp hanging down from the ceiling.  It was stationary.  He calmed himself, got back under the blanket and continued with his sleep."

Xiao Gao's calm infected his mother who did not insist that he get up.  But from 3:00 to 6:00, the firecrackers went off down in the streets.  "People had nothing to do.  Since they have firecrackers at home, they brought them out to kill time."  Xiao Gao said.

At the Qingxu bar in Baidu, someone asked at 4:28am on February 21: "When were you waken up by the earthquake rumor?"  Most netizens said that it was between 3:00 and 4:30.  One said: "I slept until 3:00 when I got up to have some instant noodles.  The phone kept ringing.  The main thing is that people cared about me!"

Xiao Gao's high school classmate Xiao Zhang woke up in this manner.  "Someone called before before 4:00.  At first, I did not pick up.  Finally my classmate called me.  The neighbor also came over and knocked on the door.  My parents were awake and they called my elder brother in Taiyuan.  But he lived on the thirteenth floor and he did feel like leaving.  So he stayed."  Xiao Zhang said.

Xiao Zhang's house is only 200 meters from the Qingxu town government office.  After he got out of bed, he heard loud human voices and dog barks outside.  He stayed in his own courtyard for a while.  "At past 5:00, the police came around to tell people to go back inside.  By 5:30, everybody was inside."  Xiao Zhang said that he was unable to go back to sleep immediately.  So he watched a Houston Rockets game on the Internet.  "I got the rumor-dispelling SMS after 10:00am."

According to the Shanxi media, Shanxi Mobile and Shanxi Unicom sent more than 20 million SMS messages between February 21 and 22 to dispel the rumor.  Xiao Gao did not receive the SMS because his mobile phone has a Beijing number.  His father and sister also did.  The SMS said: "The Shanxi provincial earthquake administration asks people not to believe in the rumor about an 'imminent earthquake'.  Please live normally and orderly.  According to the administrative rules on earthquake warning, only the provincial government can issue earthquake warnings.  No other department or individual can do so."  The Shanxi Earthquake Administration first posted this message at 6:07am on its website.  However, that website was mostly inaccessible due to heavy traffic demand.

But not every mobile phone user in Shanxi received this SMS.  Xiao Ya and her father got the SMS in Taiyuan but her mother did not.  "We joked that she was being 'discriminated aganst.'"  Xiao Ya said, "But by 6:30am on February 21, my father turned on the television and Taiyuan's Channel One was already broadcasting the message repeatedly."

Xiao Ya had spend less than half an hour "waiting for the earthquake."  "We lived on the sixth floor.  By the time the call from my classmate woke me up, it was almost 5:30am.  I was skeptical.  I got dressed and I took something to eat.  My grandmother, my mother and I took the elevator down.  We met another family inside the elevator.  We did not wait too long downstairs before we came back up."  Xiao Ya said.

But no matter whether she believed in the rumor, she called her uncle all the same.  "He did not get up.  He said that he lived in a tall building which should resist earthquake very well.  He was not afraid."  Xiao Ya said that even if the rumor is false, it was a good thing for others to tell her and a good thing to tell others.  On the evening of February 21, she was talking about this with three other elementary school classmates.  Xiao Ding was surprised: "I never even head about this.  Nobody told my parents either.  We slept well.  I have a Beijing mobile phone number, and I did not get the SMS."

So Xiao Ding and her family passed those hours quietly and unaware while others "waited for the earthquake."

Here is Apple Daily's News-In-Motion story:


This is the television commercial for the Shandong Lanxiang Vocational School featuring spokesperson Tang Guoxiang, who is famous in his role as Chairman Mao Zedong.  The slogans used in this commercial were the basis for many of the current jokes about the new fame attained by the school.

Here is a leader addressing four hundred cook-students from the Lanxiang Vocational School.  Please note that behind the leader stood a tall Causasian.  Does that mean that Lanxiang actually hires foreigner teachers which they have recently denied?  Oh, wait a minute.  This video was taken at the Beijing Olympics (you can see the Olympic flames in the background) during which Lanxiang provided cooking help.  It is not unreasonable to hire foreign consultants to cook food that meet the tastes of the foreign athletes.

This video is taken by a student of his class.  This looks very much unlike the clean environment shown in the television commercial.

This video was posted by someone who went to the school to learn how to operate an excavator.  Netizens wrote: "As soon as I enrolled, my greatest wish was to leave."  "Dog fart Lanxiang, fuck his mother!  I went there to learn to operate an excavator, but I was deceived!"  "In a class with more than 100 students, we had two excavators to share among us."  But please note that some of the students are dressed in military fatigues/camouflaged uniforms.

In this Tianya Forum post, it was said that the dormitory conditions were appalling, including wet floors.  The following videos were taken by students who had the assignment to clean up their living quarters.



Here is an 'incriminating' video of a ceremony in which a total of 10 Lanxiang students dressed in military fatigues were sent off to join the military as "technicians."  It is not stated whether they will be automotive repairmen, bulldozer operators, cooks or computer hackers.  But as pointed out, it is nothing unusual for vocational school graduates to join the military.


Recently, Lanxiang hacked Google and came to the attention of the US National Security Administration.  When the hack was exposed by the New York Times, Lanxiang suddenly became famous.  Actually, I am not surprised at all.  As a Lanxiang worker, I know many things.  For reasons of national security, I cannot tell all.  But I will tell you the following.

1. Lanxiang is not as simple as in the television ads that you have seen.

2. Lanxiang does have a military background.  The five schools Lanxiang, Tsinghua University, Harbin Institute of Technology, National University of Defense Technology and Shanghai Jiatong University are involved in a major national defense project whose purpose must be kept secret.  Not just any institute was allowed to participate.  Tsinghua has the means, Harbin Institute of Technology is the big brother of national defense technology and engineering, National University of Defense Technlogy is the big brother of military schools and Lanxiang provides the secret base.

Shanghai Jiatong originally did not qualify.  However, it was able to join through the efforts of an alumnus (you don't need to ask who!).  We are mainly responsible for electronic interference and Internet warfare research.  I cannot go into too much detail.  Peking University and the Beijing Institute of Technology applied to join but they were turned down.

3. Lanxiang has eight specialty areas.
Numerical control is actually robotics.
Cuisine is actually the manufacturing of chemical weapons and defensive measures.
Automobile repair is actually manufacturing robots and heavy war machines.
Excavation machines are actually advanced robotics.
Cosmetology is actually disguise and tactical deception.
Welding is actually design of laser-based and high-energy particle weapons.
Wireless is actually electromagnetic monitoring and early warning systems.
Computers ... no explanations are necessary.

4. Although Lanxiang is good in computers, it is not necessary what it is best at.  The four best disciplines at Lanxiang are numerical control, automobile repair, excavation and welding.  Computers are ranked somewhere between fifth and seventh, but Lanxiang is already unmatched in all of China.  By the way, we invented the Galaxy computer.  However, due to the need to maintain secrecy, we gave it to the National University of Defense Technology.

5. According to what I know, the best tank in China was secretly developed by the automobile repair department.  Due to national secrecy considerations, credit was given to other universities instead.  The welders work mainly on welding satellites and rockets, but they are not as good as Harbin Institute of Technology.  For this reason, the leaders are very upset.  Therefore, the teachers in the Welding Department are under a lot of pressure.  Last year two of them quit, one to become a professor at the Imperial College, London and the other to Taiwan.  The government tried to stop them.  One general exclaimed that the person leaving for Taiwan was equivalent to five army divisions.  However, the action was unsuccessful due to interference by the CIA.

6. The government had considered letting Lanxiang join the 985 project, but the Central Military Commission vetoed it because the best instruments of the state should not be revealed.  In Lanxiang, many teachers did not agree either, because it would be a major dishonor for a secret and excellent institute such as Lanxiang to be listed along the side of second-rate institutions such as Hunan University, Chongqing University, Huanan Institute of Technology and so on.

7. The current "Hacker Gate" was a surprise, because it came as a result of a romantic quarrel between a teacher and a student (who was a graduate student named Ying from the Northwestern Institute of Technology and has been here for two years) fell in love with the same female student.  The teacher threatened to fail the student.  The student begged for mercy.  The teacher said that he would pass the student provided he hacked Google.  The result was ...

8. In China, many things cannot be revealed to the outside because of national security issues.

9. I can only say this much, because I would be invited to have tea if I say more.

10. Our slogan to the outside world is: A cook who does not want to be a hacker is not a good chauffeur.

11. Recently, we have seen the slogan: "Shanghai Jiatong rules in the south, Lanxiang rules in the north."  Many of my colleagues felt deeply insulted because these two schools are not in the same class.  Lanxiang may occasionally take a glance at Cambridge University, Oxford University, Harvard University, Yale University, can't think of what other university? ... So when someone said "Shanghai Jiatong rules in the south, Lanxiang rules in the north," our instruction director was crying bitterly: "Forget it, forget it, who asked us to assume the disguise of a vocational school? ..."

WARNING:  To eliminate any misunderstanding, this is SARCASM.

On February 6, a local Meishan Internet forum published a post entitled <Sadness: My feelings after visiting the Museum of the Three Su's>.

"The Museum of the Three Su's is a relatively tranquil area in the eyes of the people of Meishan.  It is a good place to have a tour.  Today I arrived at the west gate of the Museum of the Three Su's.  As soon as I entered, a security guard stopped me and demanded to see my ID.  Out of curiosity, I asked how come the person in front of me didn't have to show anything.  He said that senior citizens could enter for free.  This security guard was eating watermelon seeds as he spoke.  He looked very NB ..."

This netizen also uploaded three photos, in which a man wearing a security guard uniform could be seen eating watermelon seeds.  This post quickly became popular as many netizens condemned the watermelon seed-eating security guard.  It was definitely inappropriate for a security guard to litter watermelon seeds all over the floor while on duty.

Our reporter contacted the netizen who made the post.  He said that it was an actual event.  When he saw the security guard eating watermelon seeds and littering all over the floor, his impression of the Museum of the Three Su's definitely became more unfavorable.

The Meishan city Internet Management Office forwarded the photo to the Museum of the Three Su's.  After an investigation, this security guard Zhou Yuanzhong was dismissed.

On February 20, a post entitled <The response of the Meishan Museum of the Three Su's about the sanction of the regulation-violating security guard on duty at the west gate> appeared at the local Meishan Internet Forum:

"To The City Internet Management Office: On February 10, 2010, we received the photos forwarded by your office.  Our Museum immediately investigated the matter and took action.  The security guard Zhou Yuanzhong was eating watermelon seeds while on duty and littering the shells all over the floor.  His wrongful behavior damaged the overall image of the Museum of the Three Su's and left bad impressions among the visitors.  In order the preserve the good image of the Museum of the Three Su's, this individual will no longer be allowed to work here.  Our Museum has sent him back to the security company."

The post was signed by the Meishan Museum of the Three Su's, together with the museum chop.  It was dated Feburary 20.

Netizens praised the reply, and someone joked that this was the "Watermelon Seed Gate" of 2010.

Since February 19, the office of the president of the Shandong Lanxiang Vocational School has been getting telephone calls from foreign media.  Suddenly, this vocational school which usually draws zero media attention has become a hot spot.

These media were basically all trying to confirm one thing: On February 18, the New York Times (USA) claimed that Lanxiang Vocational School and Jiatong University (Shanghai) launched network attacks against Google and other American companies -- is this true or not?


On the afternoon of February 20, our reporter went to the Lanxiang Vocational School.

The school's Office Director Mr. Zhou did not meet with our reporter.  He only said over the telephone: "These reports are nonsense fabrications.  Several days ago, a Chinese-speaking woman called up under the pretext of asking questions about student enrollment.  She did not identify herself.  We teach mainly motor vehicle maintenance/repair, and some of those students eventually joined the military to maintain/repair vehicles.  It is also said that there is a Ukrainian professor teaching here.  That is preposterous.  Our school does not have any foreign teachers.  We are not licensed to hire foreign teaches.  Besides, we did not decline to answer the question about whether there was a Ukrainian teacher here -- she simply never asked."

The school's chairman Rong Lanxiang said: "British and French media also published that fake report.  Many foreign reporters called about this matter.  They are making this up.  We have students who go into the military as allowed by the military recruitment policy.  It is an open process to recruit local talents to join the military.  What is there to it?  Our computer room has more than 2,000 machines.  But it has nothing to do with Baidu.  They even said that we have a military background.  That is laughable."

The reporter also tried to find leads among students.  On the afternoon of February 20, our reporter found a student association cadre outside the Lanxiang Vocational School campus.  He said that he had not read the New York Times report, but he is familiar with the rumor from the Internet.

He said: "In our computer classes, we learn very simple computer skills.  We learn basic applied skills such as how to make pictures.  Where do we get hacker skills?  Some students may have attended a few days of computer school somewhere and then go to boast at Baidu that they are hackers.  It is not true that the school is training hackers."

The Zhejiang School of Media's Shandong alumni association president He Lin told our reporter that while the western media claimed to stand for fairness and objectivity in news reporting as well as freedom of speech, they have frequently violated journalistic ethics and professional codes because of pre-established ideology and influence from special interest groups.  In the history of the New York Times, there have been many scandals.  During the Iraq war, the New York Times ran into a confidence crisis when its reporter Jason Blair made up and plagiarized news at will.

"In the present case, the story of the Lanxiang Vocational School attacking Google is very clearly flawed both in terms of journalistic practice and professional conduct.  They committed the old sin of establishing the theme first and then sieving for supporting evidence afterwards.  Chinese reporters who know the situations in China as well as the Lanxiang Vocational School would not have written such an amusing fake news story."

The Beijing Youth Daily reporter saw that the New York Times article was credited to John Markoff and David Barboza, with the additional note at the back: Bao Beibei and Chen Xiaoduan also contributed to this article from Shanghai.

The Beijing Youth Daily reporter called up the Shanghai bureau of the New York Times.  A worker there said that the Shanghai-based correspondent David Barboza was out of the office.  "He said everything there is to say in that article.  As to why the details of the investigation were not published, it may be out of consideration to protect the news sources."

When the New York Times article appeared, it became the target of teasing by netizens.  A netizen twisted the television commercial slogans used by Lanxiang Vocational School from "Want to learn to operate an earth extractor?  Come to Lanxiang" to "Want to become a hacker?  Come to Lanxiang," and also "Which is the best place to learn to operate an earth extractor?  Come to Lanxiang in Shandong, China" to "Which is the best place to learn to become a hacker?  Come to Lanxiang in Shandong, China."

From these comments, it can be seen that many netizens are skeptical about this New York Times report: it was just incredible that a vocational school could launch a hacker attack with military background.

The Lanxiang Vocational School's hotline for student recruitment is overwhelmed with calls.  The teacher answering the phone said: "If you have any questions, please go and ask the New York Times.  We are only responsible for recruiting students here.  We really don't know anything."

As to the allegation that "the Internet attack on Google is related to the Lanxiang Vocational School" and "the Internet service provider for the Lanxiang Vocational School is intimately tied with Baidu," our reporter interviewed the Baidu representative in Shandong province.  He said that there is zero chance of Baidu manipulating Lanxiang Vocational School to attack Google.

This representative said that the New York Times is insinuating that the black hand behind the attack on Google was Baidu.  He said: "Everybody knows that Google and Baidu are competitive opponents.  When Google is attacked, everybody can easily imagine that it must be Baidu.  The report stated clearly that the Internet service provider for the Lanxiang Vocational School is intimately connected to Baidu.  The intent is very clear."

This worker said that even if there is a cooperative relationship, the scope of that cooperation is only limited to Badiu running advertisements for Lanxiang Vocational School to recruit students over the Internet.

This worker also said that if "Lanxiang Vocational School" is searched on Google, the detailed information of that school is still available.  "Lanxiang Vocational School can also be a partner of Google.  If so, then how can partners be attacking each other?  This does not make sense."  This worker concluded that the American media reports were logically flawed.

Our reporter tried to reach the Google China headquarters.  A tape-recorded message said that they are still on vacation.  Previously, the Google China leader had said during an interview that they will not make any further comments on the matter.

(Global Times)  Hacking claim entices potential students   By Lin Meilan.  February 22, 2010.

A small vocational school in East China's Shandong Province has suddenly become a hot attraction after it was accused of taking part in the cyber attack against Google. The telephone in the recruitment office at the school, Lanxiang, has been ringing nonstop shortly after the New York Times reported that the school, along with Shanghai Jiaotong University, renowned for its computer science programs, were behind the hacking of Google and other firms. "We have been receiving phone calls from all over the country, asking about our computer science programs, which is one of the most popular pro-grams in our school," a recruitment teacher at Lanxiang, who declined to be named, told the Global Times Sunday. Google said last month it was prepared to leave China over the attacks, asserting that the sophisticated cyber attacks were aimed at their source codes and Gmail accounts. Many people are interested in a computer-programming certificate from the school, which was founded in 1984 and has about 20,000 students who study cooking, automotive repair and computer science.

The New York Times report said the school's computer network is operated by a company with close ties to Baidu, the dominant search engine in China that is also a competitor of Google.

Many Internet users were talking about the schools in online forums. Some discussion threads attracted thousands of clicks and responses. Some Internet users said the US newspaper did an "international advertisement" for the school. "Wanna be a hacker and hack Google? Go to Lanxiang!" an Internet user said on mop. com. "The report is better than any local advertisements the school has ever done. It is a popular American paper after all," another Internet user said. Some expected the school's graduates to have a better chance at finding a job in the shrinking employment market.

The recruitment teacher said students of all ages could apply to the school. "There is no limitation of age and education background, and there is no deadline for our recruitment. Students are welcomed to join the class any time they want," the teacher said.

I was sleeping last night when I was awakened by loud noises downstairs around 3am.  I went downstairs to look.  It seemed that most of the people in Qingxu county were up and about.  Someone told me that an earthquake was about to occur very shortly.  I saw many people brought food.  Men and women in their 80's were walking down the street with canes in their hands.  The streets were full of people and cars.  In the history of earthquakes, people were often sent out into the streets after an earthquake.  But the people of Shanxi have collectively invented the "waiting for an earthquake."

The rumor also spread to other cities in Shanxi.  In Jinzhong, Luliang, Taiyuan and dozens of other cities, people were out in the streets anxiously waiting for the "prediction" to become true.


Who was the first to spread that rumor?  118.183.177.* -- this IP number belongs to the Gansu Provincial Telecom.  This person was very clever.  He posted the original message and then he supplied his own comments in order to boost the popularity.  Let us go look up his IP address and then denounce him to the authorities.  What did Shanxi ever do to Gansu?  All of Shanxi was sleepless last night.  Was he looking for hits, or did he want to increase his fame?  He didn't even leave his name ...

Please do not believe in this rumor.  Trust your feelings.  Earthquakes cannot be predicted because they occur very suddenly.  It was a rumor last night.  Let us go back to bed.  The truth will surely be found in today's news.  We will get a reasonable explanation.