China's snow emergency

A news bulletin on state TV started like this today and the following half hour was filled with images of China's leaders on the ground and solving problems. Others shows pictured army officers helping people and clearing roads. The viewer is meant to feel sympathy and appreciation for the hard work of the government. This woman paused to express appreciation during her shopping. She doesn't even seem to mind that prices of goods have shot up due to the extra effort for transport. This produce seller says she's never seen prices go up like this, but some have said prices were go down just as fast once storm damage is fixed. But China is just starting to account for storm damage. Hundreds of thousands in collapsed buildings, more than $7 billion in damage according to the government and perhaps a few tenths of GDP growth according to this economist. He says all the reconstruction work needed may even give China's economy a boost, just as Katrina did for the US. Katrina is also echoed in the fact that China's infrastructure isn't keeping up with its growth and the country doesn't have a good emergency plan. Agencies that should've talked to each other didn't and the tendency to hide bad news also hindered emergency relief work. But China's leaders have learned the importance of credibility and showing that you're helping. No serious riots have broken out despite the fact that migrant workers are cold, stranded and struggling to get home. That suggests showing credibility and sympathy can go a long way.

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