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Rumors lead to earthquake panic in Shanxi

[ 2010-02-22 11:30]     字号 [] [] []  
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Tens of thousands of people grabbed prized possessions and fled their houses in the middle of the night following rumors of an imminent earthquake in Shanxi province yesterday.

The rumor - which is believed to have started after a series of earthquake drills at local hospitals - warned that a destructive 6.0 magnitude quake would strike in the cities of Jinzhong, Changzhi, Jincheng and Taiyuan, the provincial capital.

The rumor triggered widespread panic and prompted tens of thousands of people in dozens of cities and counties to leave their houses and run into the streets in the middle of the night.

The chaos forced officials at the Shanxi provincial earthquake administration to officially deny the rumor on its website yesterday. Officials called for calm and warned that only the provincial government could release an earthquake forecast.

Lang Xiaojing said she was very frightened when she heard the rumor.

"I received two phone calls from my friends at about 4 am and was told that the earthquake would happen at about 6 am. Then I saw many people and cars were moving out into the streets," she said.

Lang said she woke her husband and son, removed 20,000 yuan ($2,900) that she had stored in a bedside table, called her brother and then fled the house.

When they emerged from the property, hundreds of residents were already outside discussing the rumor of the imminent earthquake.

Later, residents received a text message from the provincial government that denied the rumor and encouraged residents to return to their houses.


1: What magnitude earthquake was rumored to strike?

2: How many thousands of people were forced onto the streets?

3: How much money did Lang remove from her house?


1. 6.0.

2. tens of thousands.

3. 20,000 yuan.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Rumors lead to earthquake panic in Shanxi

About the broadcaster:

Rumors lead to earthquake panic in Shanxi

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.