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China’s devastating floods: Is the communist country hiding something?

China’s devastating floods: Is the communist country hiding something?

The fury of floods continues unabated in China as large parts of north, central and south China are completely inundated. An estimated 54.8 million people have been affected with $20 billion in losses. The government says that 158 people are dead or missing.

Two months of massive rains, overflowing rivers and lakes have brought mainland China to a standstill. The government issued flood alerts for nearly 433 rivers and had to resort to wartime measures. The largest floods in two decades have wreaked devastation on agricultural areas, cities and millions of people have been rendered homeless.

The situation has put a global spotlight on the massive Three Gorges dam, with many experts repeatedly saying that the dam might give away. Though the gigantic structure has withstood the pressure of huge quantities of water, the authorities reported in mid-July that there has been a slight deformation in peripheral parts of the dam. If the dam buckles, it will completely flood the well-known city of Wuhan—now famous for the origins of the deadly coronavirus. In that eventuality, tens of millions of people will lose their lives downstream of the dam.

Areas upstream and downstream of the Three Gorges dam, built on the Yangtze River, are inundated. Besides the Yangtze, <a href="https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-08-06/Live-Unprecedented-floods-hit-southern-China-SJudOYiaI0/index.html"><strong>the spate in China</strong> </a>has been exacerbated due to over-flooding in the Yellow and Huai Rivers. The severe flooding has led to demonstrations against the authorities in Xingtai with people criticizing the government for poor rescue efforts and inadequate flood warnings.

Cities like Chongqing, Nanchang, Wuhan and Nanchang have been severely affected. Across China, tens of thousands of houses have collapsed and hundreds of thousands have been damaged. Communication lines have been disrupted and large parts face power cuts. Roads have washed away and bridges have collapsed at many places.

The widespread damage has led to fears about shortage of food grain on one hand and economic problems on the other. Crippled by the coronavirus for many months, the economy had begun to recover when torrential rains and floods again <a href="https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/3095458/chinas-economic-recovery-under-threat-fresh-coronavirus"><strong>pushed it back</strong></a>. Floods are once again beginning to disrupt the production and supply chains which had earlier been disrupted by the pandemic—a threat which continues to loom large as different parts of China report coronavirus cases almost every way.

However, news reports say that despite such massive flooding the <a href="https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3976456"><strong>government seems to be under-reporting</strong> </a>figures. <em>Taiwan News</em> says: "Meanwhile, the number of dead and missing persons reported has decreased by 53.9 per cent, and the number of collapsed houses has reportedly dropped by 68.4 per cent. Given that this year's floods have not only surpassed anything seen in the past five years but also since 1998 and beyond, it is odd that the number of deaths and collapsed homes would actually decrease, possibly indicating undercounting by officials."

The image of the country has taken a severe beating in the past few months because of the global misery and devastation caused by the coronavirus. China has not come clean on the origins of the virus, fuelling speculation that the virus was manufactured in a Chinese lab.

Even as beleaguered nations were battling the pandemic, China mounted territorial offensives and launched propaganda wars through its wolf warrior spokespersons threatening the integrity of many smaller countries. Its aggression has already scorched Hong Kong and its army has already infiltrated India on its Ladakh border.  Chinese moves in the East China Sea and South China Sea against many neighbors are sparking fears of conflicts and wars.

The mayhem caused by the unending floods in large swathes of the country has taken the sheen off China's supposed might, making it look like a third-world country. The devastating floods once again show that the communist country cannot be believed for what it says or does – it hides anything unsuitable to it and projects what is detrimental to others. The unprecedented floods paint a contrarian picture of what China is internally and what it portrays to the outside world..