Pray for Japan and take a look of the related scare buying

Although we are still in the spring break, I think people have idea what is happening in the world. The biggest thing that every country pays attention to is the earth quake, tsunami, and the most dangerous nuclear plant jeopardy happened in Japan.

 I have been watching CNN for more than three days. The radiation in Japan is “extremely high”, and it may come to California recently. Fortunately, the radiation will not be dangerous for California residents, it is very small. However, the residents here is began to scare buying the “iodine” related thing.

 On Mar 13, I searched on Amazon, the Kelp tablet (180 tablets) is $8.57 included shipping, and the iodine table (14 tablets) is around $ 8.  However, when I checked Amazon on Mar 15, the kelp went up to more than $10, and the iodine table is soaring to $500!!!! I cannot believe my eyes. (I checked just now, it went back to $39, still higher than usuall).

This situation is also happening in my home country China.  Many cities now is almost sold out of salt!!!!! I do not know who said that sea salt is good for prevet radiation, but just people are waiting a extremly long line to buy them!!!

citizen in Beijing waiting in a long line to buy salt!!


This is one of the most popular business areas in Beijing, I cannot believe that so many people waiting to buy salt! It looks like salt can do everything. Actually, there is no authority said anything about salt will do benefit for the radiation. Rumors were made and people came out on the street.

salt was sold out

This is a grocery in a southern city of China, there is a big sign said “Salt was sold out here, Thanks”.

no more salt

Consumers were shocked that the shelf of salt was totally empty!!

This situation never happened before, even at the SARS period. However, some of friends they really need to buy salt for cooking, they cannot find at that moment. They need to go out to eat. Fortunately, Chinese government said the price will not go up, and ask people to be rational on scare buying.

The situation now is still not clear, we just pray for Japan and hope Japanese can make it, hope the radiation could be controled, and will not influence other regions. In addtion, wherever we live, let’s be rational on buying things, idine or salt or other products. We need to listen to the update news and I think even the radiation come to LA, the government will tell us the right things to do.

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3 Responses to Pray for Japan and take a look of the related scare buying

  1. jacquetw says:

    I think this is a great example on how communication has gone wrong, and how powerful mass media is. In Hong Kong, the prices for salt and soy sauce has risen up to almost 500% (if not more) of its original cost in the wet markets. While it is very clear that what happened in Japan is very serious and devastating, many viewers are absorbing all sorts of different news, causing them to potentially feel too overwhelmed with different types of information given to them, and thus acting irrationally.

    I received a phone call from my mother the other day (currently living in Hong Kong). Her friend’s daughter read some news online, talking about a Russian psychic predicting that Los Angeles/West Coast is going to also have a large earthquake, almost as big as the one that happened in Japan very soon (beginning of April). There were also rumors about the Philippines being another target for a tsunami. Where are all these reports coming from, and where are people getting the facts?

    While following the media about Japan for the past couple of days, I’ve noticed a trend in many different reports; many facts include the following words: “we think”, “we believe”, or “the government is speculating that…”. This means these are all potential assumptions; nothing is 100% confirmed yet. If the viewers are not careful with the information, they will believe everything that they read, causing them to think all “speculating” news is already confirmed with actual facts and panic.

    I strongly believe what happened in Japan was devastating, and I am definitely praying for them. However, I also wish the media would stop over-abusing their power and create rumors for the viewers. It’s like one giant telephone game gone wrong.

  2. xueruixi says:

    These are indeed sad facts about the chaos caused by this catastrophic disaster. However, think on the positive side of the media. People in Japan get their life saved and contact their lost family by sending message on social media such as Twitter and Facebook, they also resort to traditional media to send out informations regarding the situation in the stricken region. The report for the earthquake may not be accurate, but it certainly aroused people’s attention that urgent help is needed in Japan. Media are still the most powerful way to get the message delivered and to arouse people’s attention.

    Admittedly, media coverage always takes its side. It is not specifically directed towards this event, but inevitably done so in the long history of news reporting. I guess it is hard to be completely objective, as an organization always involves economic, political and cultural power imbalance. Thus, it to some extent actually lies to the readers to make their own judgements. In that case, media literacy is an issue that needs to be educated to the public, and we certainly hope the advantage of media can be fully utilized.

  3. shutongz says:

    I am doing a dissertation on the earthquake coverage. I find analyzing the spread of rumor in disasters is a hot topic in the academic world. Physcologist Allport actually has a theory to explain the communication process. He point out that the spread of rumor is determined by two factors: the importance of the “fact” and the ambiguity of the evidence. The effect of rumor will be maximized during the process of communication.
    This situation actually happened before. I was in Sichuan when the earthquake happened in 2008. There was a panic buying due to a rumor said the water was polluted. Having a plan for risk communication is really important. It is also the time to test the credibility of media.