I spend two days now trying to find news of Xiuning and nearby towns. Independent newsnets and blogs are full of talk about why towns in Anhui province are cut off from communication. Official newsnets say there is a communication satellite overloading because of New Year plans, but everybody says they try to silence the full news of the sickness.
One report gives the first case of Avian Flu at 3am 20 January, another says hospitals are full by mid-morning, and a third says that the army patrols the streets, and tells people to stay in their homes. We still do not know numbers that are sick or how far the outbreak is spread, or why there is no official news from the isolated areas. We wonder if there is more reason than sickness that they block communications for this region – perhaps there is much panic, rioting, uprising?
There are many students on the campus who cannot go home. We begin to meet up and ask these questions together. It is good not to ask them alone.