Aug 09, 2021 06:22 PM

Beijing Sets Five-Hour Deadline for Informing Public About Emergencies

What’s new: Beijing has revised its general contingency plan (link in Chinese), requiring government departments to release information on major emergencies to the public within five hours.

The city government announced the revised plan Friday as it seeks to shore up its emergency response mechanism. The updated measures come just weeks after devastating flooding that killed more than 300 people in Central China’s Henan province exposed problems in the province’s emergency flood response, including its early warning system.

The plan requires relevant departments to respond as soon as possible after the occurrence of a major emergency. It also requires them to make public details of the emergency via reputable media outlets within five hours.

For major emergencies that are of a sensitive nature, take place in core areas or during special periods, or may have a significant impact on society, relevant departments should immediately report to Beijing’s general duty and emergency offices and deliver detailed information within two hours, according to the plan.

The plan to improve Beijing’s early warning systems requires initial alerts to be sent out by the specific information release center, rather than by multiple channels. The government announcement said priority should be given to informing specific groups such as the elderly, children and pregnant women.

The background: Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province, sent five red alerts for heavy rain on late July 19 and July 20. This repeated highest possible warning appears to have made little difference to the impact of the historical downpours on the city.

Few people and institutions heeded the warnings, and most companies kept to their normal working schedules, leaving a dozen people dead in the city’s subway system, which was overwhelmed on the afternoon of July 20 due to heavy rain and flooding, Caixin has learned. Nearly 300 people died in Zhengzhou’s flooding.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use.

Contact reporter Wang Xintong ( and editor Heather Mowbray (

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