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The number of dead pigs salvaged from the Huangpu River of Shanghai in the past two weeks is 11,000. The governments in Shanghai and the upper reaches of the river must tell the people as soon as possible how the pigs died and what the water quality is, says an editorial in People's Daily. Excerpts:
Although the local governments give the media new information about the dead pigs every day, they have not yet told the public what caused the pigs' deaths. More rumors surface, and people suspect not only that the water is not safe to drink, but that pork is unsafe, despite environmental watchdogs' efforts to calm fears.
People are not concerned about how the dead pigs are disposed of, which occupies a large part of the government's information. The longer it takes to discover the cause of the deaths, the more reasons people will have to believe that governments are covering up something crucial that's related to public health.
As the number of dead pigs salvaged from the river rises each day, the public's suspicions and concerns also rise day after day. This incident has already evolved into an accident that threatens public health.
The governments in Jiaxing of Zhejiang province, where the dead pigs were thrown into the river, and Shanghai, where the dead pigs have been discovered, are obligated to find out the truth. Otherwise, a water-pollution crisis will evolve into a food-safety crisis, and finally a government credibility crisis. The best means to manage this crisis is to face it squarely.