While first responders rush to save the 440 people still missing after a cruise ship capsized Monday in the Yangtze River leaving aleast five people dead, China’s social media users have criticized the way Chinese state media has spun the tragedy into an PR opportunity. On microblog platform Weibo, China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency posted photos of Premier Li Keqiang at the dramatic scene of the accident in the central Hubei province and in the hospital where survivors were recuperating. Li will reportedly be working at the headquarters of the recovery team to direct the rescue efforts.

Under the photos, dozens of comments have streamed in from users offering condolences, and others praising the leadership of the premier. “The Prime Minister is tough,” one user writes. “Li Keqiang is mobilizing all forces at all costs to save lives,” another user posted.

“China’s Good Premier!” another wrote, adding “May all beings be well.”

Government response to the accident is crucial, especially since this is potentially the worst accident of its kind since the late 1990s. While the presence of a high-ranking official shows how seriously the government is taking it, not everyone is impressed with how much attention is being given to the premier rather than the first responders or victims.





The responses coming in on Weibo don’t reflect the entire conversation going on regarding the Yangtze River disaster. According to Free Weibo, a website that monitors censorship on the popular social media site in real time, posts questioning the causes of the accident (which has officially been blamed on poor weather) and the competency of recovery efforts have been censored.