Page last updated at 08:55 GMT, Thursday, 15 April 2010 09:55 UK

Qinghai quake: Chinese media reaction

By Michael Bristow
BBC News, Beijing

Image from CCTV showing rescue efforts in Yushu on 14 April 2010
Chinese state television has showed footage of people being rescued

A day after the earthquake that rocked Qinghai province, Chinese newspapers inevitably focused on the human tragedy.

The Beijing Youth Daily's front-page photograph showed a man - blood-stained and dazed - clutching a small child.

Grim-faced rescuers were pictured lifting a body covered by a sheet in a photograph on the front of the Beijing Morning Post.

News bulletins from China Central Television aired more hopeful scenes, showing several people being pulled out alive from collapsed buildings.

Rescuers could be seen working through the night, tearing at the rubble with their bare hands and simple tools.

But China's media also took a deeper look at the earthquake; concentrating on how prepared the authorities were for this disaster.

The People's Daily, the main mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, said lessons had been learned from the Sichuan earthquake in 2008 that left about 90,000 dead or missing.

Just 17 minutes after the earthquake struck the county of Yushu, news about the quake was released, said the newspaper.

Within an hour the Ministry of Civil Affairs had launched an emergency plan and after two hours an emergency rescue centre had been set up in Yushu, it added.

"What moved people was that the fastest rescue response came from the people of Sichuan, who had just come through the shadow of an earthquake themselves," read a commentary in the newspaper.

But not all media outlets were so sure that China had been fully prepared.

The Yanzhao Evening News, based in Hebei province, said the local government and people in Yushu should have been prepared for this disaster as it happened in an area prone to earthquakes.

Indeed, the state-run news agency Xinhua said on Monday that Qinghai had been shaken by no less than 53 earthquakes greater than magnitude five since 2001.

Perhaps more could even have been done just before the 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck, suggested Ni Sidao, of the University of Science and Technology of China.

In comments printed in the Beijing News, the expert said there was a smaller tremor before the big earthquake struck in Yushu.

"There wasn't enough attention paid to this pre-tremor. Researching these would help reduce the damage of an earthquake," the newspaper said.

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