BEIJING — China's plans to vaccinate 100 million children
and come a step closer to eradicating measles has set off a popular
outcry that highlights widening public distrust of the authoritarian
government after repeated health scandals.
Since the Health
Ministry announced the World Health Organization-backed measles
vaccination plan last week, authorities have been flooded with queries
and Internet bulletin boards have been plastered with worried messages.
Conspiracy theories saying the vaccines are dangerous have spread by
cell phone text messages.
The public skepticism has even been covered by state-run media, which noted the lack of trust was about more than vaccines.
the public's panic over the rumors is an expression of the citizens'
demands for security and a crisis in confidence," a columnist wrote in
the Chongqing Daily newspaper.
"The lack of trust toward our food
and health products was not formed in one day," said the Global Times
newspaper. "Repairing the damage and building credibility will take a
very long time. The public health departments need to take immediate
action on all fronts."