Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Tale of Two Fuzhou's..Bombs with & without Social Media

The NYTs and other media have picked up on the recent multiple bombings in Fuzhou in Jiangxi province, so Edward Wong's account is as good as any other:

BEIJING — At least two people were killed and six wounded by three explosions within an hour on Thursday at government office buildings in a city in southern China, according to state news media and a provincial government Web site.

The blasts occurred in the city of Fuzhou in Jiangxi Province between 9 and 9:45 a.m., according to the government posting, which appeared on the province’s propaganda bureau Web site. The first one was at the Fuzhou Procurator’s Office, the second at the Linzhuan District government building and the third in a parking lot at the Linzhuan Food and Drug Administration office.

Xinhua, the state news agency, reported Thursday afternoon that the attacker was Qian Mingqi, 52, an unemployed man. He was killed in one of the explosions, the report said. It was unclear whether he had been counted in the official death toll.

A photograph posted on a Chinese social networking Web site and on the Web site of Phoenix Television, based in Hong Kong, showed a large cloud of smoke rising above a cluster of buildings as scores of people watched from a wide avenue. Other photos and a short video on the Phoenix Television Web site showed government buildings with windows blown out, shattered glass on sidewalks and damaged cars.

The Web site of Xinhua earlier on Thursday had posted an item saying the explosives had been planted by a farmer who was angry with the handling of a court case, which could explain why the first explosion took place at the procurator’s office. That office supervises legal matters in Fuzhou and is responsible for the prosecution and investigation of cases. That posting was deleted by 1 p.m.

By late Thursday afternoon, several Chinese journalists were posting on weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, a link to what they identified as the weibo account of Mr. Qian, who had been publicly chronicling his battle against local officials.

Obviously this lit up the global media because of Mr Qian's use of social media.
Seeing the headlines on Google newsearch, I immediately thought of another incident which took place in Fuzhou, Fujian on 8 August 2005. Here is the account by China Daily:

FUZHOU: A suicide bomber blew himself up on a bus in central Fuzhou yesterday, killing himself and injuring 31 others, local police said.

The blast in the capital of East China's Fujian Province went off at 2:32 pm as the No 5 bus pulled in at the Dongjiekou Stop in Dongda Road, one of the city's busiest streets....

There was a deafening "big bang," said Lin Lina, a female employee working in an office building on the roadside.

"Thick smoke rose into the sky, and we couldn't see or tell what was happening," Lin said...

The shockwave from the home-made explosives was so huge that the windows of a nearby store shattered, according to the website....

Police later said the explosion came from a second-row seat on the right-hand side of the bus.

The suspected bomber, Huang Maojin, died on the spot.

Huang, 42, was a farmer from Fujian's Gutian County.

According to a suicide note found by police, he had been suffering from lung cancer for about two years.

In the letter, Huang said he had a dispute with one of his neighbours in 2002. He claimed he had been unfairly treated by the local public security department and was sentenced to jail until the end of 2003.

He was delayed treatment of his illness, he claimed.

Huang's family was heavily in debt and his children were unable to go to school because of lack of money, the letter said.

The body count was much higher than China Daily reported and there were body parts strewn thru the banjan trees on either side of the road. A friend who lived within minutes of the location took photos. This incident made one brief appearance on local TV news and then disappeared forever. I scootered over that evening and could see that the whole site had been completely sanitised, but you could still see scorch marks.

Furthermore, there is no street called Donjiekou: DonJiekou is the octypus walkway in the centre of the city, and this bus bombing took place a couple of blocks away in a street called Beichi Beilu, although my spelling may be a bit dodgy here.

Angry Chinese Blogger provides additional photos here with thanks.

Fact checking by China Daily. Forgetaboutit.

HERE is a very precise and location specific update on the Jiangxi bomb incident
by Tom Lasseter Miami Herald with thanks.
It leaves the NYTs retrospective recycling reportage in the dust.

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