The number of victims of the recent flood in the central province of Henan is now at least three times higher than the government was first willing to admit. The official death toll had been questioned for some time on social media inside and outside China.
At least 302 people are now said to have died, and another 50 are said to be missing.
On July 20, torrential rains turned the streets of the Chinese city of Zhengzhou in central Henan province into raging rivers. People and vehicles were swept away by the water, and tunnels full of cars and part of the underground metro were flooded. In other cities in the province, such as the old capital Luoyang, the streets were also flooded.
Officially, 99 fatalities were reported at the time. Doubts quickly grew about this, especially in view of the shocking images of the flood. There was also criticism of social media in China itself. Doubts grew, even more, when foreign journalists were harassed in Zhengzhou, and it was suspected that snoopers were not welcome.
The government has therefore adjusted the figures today. Officially, 302 have now been killed, most of them in Zhengzhou. However, at least 47 people are also said to be missing. It is not clear, however, whether those figures are final. Traditionally, the government in China has difficulty admitting setbacks or victims. This was also the case during the corona crisis in the country.