On Weibo, Chinese Netizens are expressing their anger in lack of government oversight in both city planning and management of fire departments

As the initial shock and heartbreak passed, more people are turning to anger as conflicting accounts of bystanders and news agencies came to light. More and more people are questioning the city’s decision of allowing residential areas to be so close to high-risk industrial sites. 

Pray? Pray your mom! The explosion already happened, so who the fuck are we praying to? Does anyone actually believe in Jesus or God or Buddha or Mohammed? (China is a mostly atheist society) Embracing Buddha’s feet in one’s hour of need (meaning a non-believer seeking help in deities at the last moment) do you even know what shame is? 

Right now, we don’t need to be praying, we need to be seeking who bears the responsibility. Whose decision is it that those warehouses storing dangerous cargo is only a few hundred meters away from residential complexes? Who decided to put all those toxic crap together? Which department overlooked the possible risks? Why the fire wasn’t contained at the first possible moment? Who made the order to send in entire teams of lightly equipped firefighters into the scene when the situation was unclear?

CCTV is going to start with their fluff pieces to move you to tears: entire segments dedicated to “leaders” displaying their “leadership” in the aftermath, playing up all levels of government officials and their “dedication”, round after rounds of interviews with the medical personnel… there is going to be scroll of the firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice, telling their parents again and again that “your son has died”. 

If their coverage brought you to tears, besides being moved, would you retain a bit of anger? Are you going to type in some candle emoji in your weibo and that’s it? What if next time, it is your apartment complex being bombed?

In the midst of accusations of city planners being in bed with real estate developers and industries, this photo circulated on weibo, proving that the people of Tianjin once protested heavy chemical plants in their city.

(2012 Apr 15th)

Over ten thousand protesters from Tianjin’s Binhai new district gathered in local “Century Plaza” yesterday and today to protest the possible new chemical factory. They waved banners saying “Cherish life; Give citizens a living environment.”  The project they are protesting is the Polycarbonate processing project by SINOPEC SABIC TianJin Petrochemical Co. 

Questions also arise of the methods and leadership decisions of the local fire departments. 

Firefighters not told to not use water on chemical fire

The firefighter interviewed claimed that he is among the first group to be dispatched to the scene, there was no explosion at the time. According to him, there were many among the early dispatchers, “about a hundred men”.  At the scene, no one said anything about possible chemical hazards that would arise with the use of water. The firefighter claimed that because of that, everyone with him used water on the fires. 

Along with this information, there are several account that contradict the official numbers. So far, those accounts remain unproven, however, it has fanned the flames among the Chinese citizens searching for truth in the wake of tragedy. 

Edit 08/14: More information has came to light about possible unreported causalities: please check out this article and signal boost it!

Rest in peace, my fellow soldiers! My heart breaks for all of you. 11 squadrons–over 400 soldiers, all of them killed in action during the second explosion! This country is reporting that 17 people died, this motherfucking country! Fuck the CCP! The leadership can eat shit! This is a society that cowers from the truth!

lol. They said that two firefighters died. I must be drunk. Why are they doing this. I am in Tanggu, the first batch of firefighters all died on the scene, there were no survivors, nothing like what the news is saying. 

Just now during the Tianjin government’s news conference, one reporter asked, “According to government regulations, how far should hazardous material warehouses be from residential areas?” the entire group of officials looked to each other and had no answer for him. CCTV cut the live feed immediately. Tianjin TV was live for one more minute than CCTV, and the environmental protection agency managed this answer: “we mainly deal with environmental inspection around site”. After that, Tianjin TV cancelled the live feed and started to play TV dramas. I am truly drunk. 

继续苟活 或是保持愤怒

Stay angry and demand the truth. Inside and outside the wall. 

As more displaced residents regain internet access, Chinese netizens struggle to piece together the real number of casualties through social media

To a lot of Chinese people, especially those who are internet savvy, Chinese media is the boy who cried wolf–whenever there’s an accident, the casualties seems to be always in the 30s. There are rumors about the magic number “36”, and many believes that it is an unwritten state policy that if the death toll is above 36, the higher ups would lose their jobs, and thus, the number of casualties will always be reported at somewhere around the 30~36 mark. 

When the first reports came out, many disputed it. A popular post circulating around weibo stated that there were no survivors in an entire building closest to the blast site. There have been doubts over the number of non-civilian casualties including firefighters and those in the police department building around 200 meters from the blast site. One post suggested that “400 soldiers died in the second blast”. 

So far, there is no way of confirming the non-civilian casualties, however, it seems that the civilian death toll was not as high as some speculated. (ie. an entire building of residents died, or “there’s no survivors within a 1km radius”). 

Below are some posts from the residents of the Haigang Cheng (”Pier City”) community and Qingshui Wan (”clear water bay”) community. The two residential developments closest to the blast site. (around 800 meters) Some posts conflict with each other, and I think it shows that, as always… the truth is somewhere in between. 

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