Floods leave at least 12 dead, 10 missing in southwestern China

UNTV News   •   June 29, 2020   •   276

Heavy rainstorms triggered massive floods in southwestern China, where at least 12 people were killed and 10 remain missing, state broadcaster CCTV reported on Monday (June 29).

Torrential rain in the north of Mianning county, in Sichuan province, on Friday evening (June 26) through to early Saturday morning (June 27) changed the path of the river, inundating a large area of farmland, cutting off local roads and damaging village homes, said CCTV. The river in the county is a tributary of the Yalong, which is part of the Yangtze river system.

The local government has evacuated a total of 7,705 people, according to the state news agency Xinhua, and rescue efforts are still underway.

Meanwhile, heavy downpours over the weekend in central China’s Hubei province has affected more than 650,000 people in 24 cities and counties, including Jingmen with 301 mm of rainfall in 20 hours, CCTV said. The local Han River tributary in Jingmen is also part of the larger Yangtze river system.

China’s national observatory on Monday issued a blue alert for rainstorms as heavy downpours continue to wreak havoc in vast stretches of the country, according to Xinhua news agency.

Regions along the banks of the Yangtze and its tributaries are traditionally vulnerable to flooding in China’s summer months, with the impact of heavy rainfall worsened by deforestation, dwindling flood plains and the diversion of natural river systems for hydropower and irrigation.

This year, China has also been bracing itself against heavier than usual downpours. With water volumes in 148 rivers already reaching emergency levels by mid-June, the government has told local authorities to pay attention to potential dam and reservoir collapses as well as the risks of mountain floods.

Central and eastern regions of the country are set to bear the brunt this week, with some provinces forecasting 30-50 mm of rain per hour by Wednesday (July 1), the country’s meteorological administration said on Monday. (Reuters)

(Production: Irene Wang)

Japan accuses China of pushing territorial claims

UNTV News   •   July 14, 2020

Japan’s annual defense review accuses China of pushing its territorial claims amid the coronavirus pandemic and suspects Beijing of spreading propaganda and disinformation as it provides medical aid to nations fighting COVID-19.

“We’ve written some details about China’s persistent moves to attempt to alter the status quo surrounding the Senkaku Islands which is our territory,” said Japanese Defence Minister Taro Kono on Tuesday (July 14).

The white paper approved by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government on Tuesday described “relentless” intrusions in waters around a group of islets claimed by both nations in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

In the South China Sea, it said Beijing was asserting territorial claims by establishing administrative districts around disputed islands, that forced countries distracted by the coronavirus outbreak to respond.

Japan sees China as a longer-term and more serious threat than nuclear-armed North Korea. Beijing now spends four times as much as Tokyo on defence as it builds a large modern military. (Reuters)

(Production: Akira Tomoshige, Akiko Okamoto)

U.S. will act to deny China access to Americans’ data, says Pompeo

UNTV News   •   July 14, 2020

The Trump administration will take steps to ensure the Chinese government does not gain any access to the private information of American citizens through telecommunications and social media, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday (July 8), when asked if the U.S. was planning to ban Chinese-owned app Tiktok.

Pompeo also praised U.S. technology giants Google, Twitter Inc and Facebook Inc for ‘refusing to surrender’ user data to the Hong Kong government and urged other companies to follow suit, after China’s establishment of a sweeping new national security law for the semi-autonomous city.

Speaking two days after he said Washington was “certainly looking at” banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok, Pompeo said the U.S. evaluation was not focused on a particular company but that it was a matter of national security.

“The comments that I made about a particular company earlier this week fall in the context of us evaluating the threat from the Chinese Communist Party,” Pompeo said. He added that Washington was working to ensure that Beijing does not gain access to any private data or health records of Americans.

“So what you’ll see the administration do is take actions that preserve and protect that information and deny the Chinese Communist Party access to private information that belongs to Americans,” he said.

In his wide-ranging news conference, Pompeo also accused China of taking “incredibly aggressive action” in a recent clash with India over a disputed section of the nuclear-armed neighbors’ border, saying Beijing had a pattern of instigating territorial disputes.

On the night of June 15, Chinese forces and Indian troops fought for hours with rods and clubs, a dramatic escalation that left 20 Indian soldiers killed, with some falling to their deaths in the freezing waters of the Galwan river in the western Himalayas.

“The Chinese took incredibly aggressive action. The Indians have done their best to respond to that,” Pompeo said in a news conference at the State Department. “I’d put this in the context of General Secretary Xi Jinping and his behavior throughout the region, and indeed, throughout the world.”

His comments reflect the deep-running tensions between Washington and Beijing, which have been at loggerheads over the handling of the coronavirus outbreak, China’s actions in the former British colony of Hong Kong and a nearly two-year trade dispute between the U.S. and China. (Reuters)

(Production: Pavithra George)

Two missing, three injured in oil refinery fire in China

UNTV News   •   July 13, 2020

A massive oil refinery fire in Longyan City of east China’s Fujian Province has left two missing and three others injured with one in severe condition, according to the local government’s report released at 21:30 on Sunday.

All injured victims were immediately taken to hospital.

According to the report, the cause of the accident is the hot weather which led to fire while a worker was operating a glycerinum storage tank at the Longyan Zhuoyue New Energy company, located in Tieshan Town of the city’s Xinluo District.

The fire lit up an area of 3,900 square meters as of 21:30.

All nearby residents have been evacuated to safety, while hundreds of firefighters brought in from across the province are continuing to fight the flames.

A local emergency response headquarters has been set up, with a total of 12 fire stations, 54 fire trucks and 202 firefighters dispatched to the rescue.

In addition, armed police, public security, forest fire control, militia reserve, medical workers, sanitation workers, emergency management personnel and other rescue forces also rushed to the scene, quickly organized the evacuation of the factory workers and the surrounding people, and implemented temporary traffic control.

According to the report, the main substances produced during the refinery fire included PM2.5, PM10, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, but no poisonous materials and cumulative pollutants.

By the time of the report, rescue is still underway. (Reuters)

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