Yahoo News has a story on the Chinese Government's backtracking from a report that China's lawyers have been instructed not to take cases arising out of the recent rail crash disaster
I am by no means an expert on China, but it seems that the Government's response to mass disasters offers an opportunity for stinging criticism from the public that clearly unnerves the Chinese leadership. It started with the collapse of schools during the May 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province which resulted in the deaths of at least 10,000 students. The shoddy construction that caused the collapse of the schools was attributed to official corruption. Many parents protesting the loss of their children have been imprisoned and harassed by authorities. The New York Times reported that:
By the first anniversary of the quake, mothers across the region were pregnant or giving birth again, aided by government medical teams dispensing fertility advice and reversing sterilizations. Because of China's policy limiting most families to having one child, the students who died were often their parents' only offspring. Officials say they hope a wave of births will help defuse the anger that many grieving parents harbor.
If you run over someone's dog it may be a nice gesture to buy that person a new puppy. I don't think the same rationale applies to defusing anger over the death of a child. I suppose that being offered a free medical procedure is also a nice gesture, but it certainly won't ease the loss of a child or diffuse anger someone might feel at being forcibly sterilized by their government.
Now it is the Chinese Government's response to the train collision. It is becoming increasingly difficult, due to the public's increasing popularity of micro blogging sites, for the Chinese Government to deal with mass expressions of discontent. Their code word for justifying the attempted suppression of news coverage and comments regarding these incidents is "social stability." However, the Chinese people are gradually beginning to realize that the real danger to "social stability" is not freedom of expression but the freedom of official corruption that is rotting their society from the top down.