China’s Response to the Tianjin Explosions

Officials say the toll from last week’s blasts is 114 dead and 70 missing, even as criticism of them mounts.

The Atlantic
Date: August 17, 2015
By: Krishnadev Calamur

Chinese authorities are still trying to determine what caused last week’s deadly blasts in the city

About 100 people protest Monday outside a hotel in Tianjin, China, where officials hold news conferences. Paul Traynor / AP
About 100 people protest Monday outside a hotel in Tianjin, China, where officials hold news conferences. Paul Traynor / AP

of Tianjin. The toll from those explosions, they now say, is 114 dead and 70 still missing.

The explosions on August 12 displaced nearly 6,000 people from Tianjin, and damaged some 17,000 homes. On Monday, a group of about 100 residents whose homes were damaged sought compensation from the government at the hotel where officials have held daily news conferences.

The Associated Press reports that one banner read: “We victims demand: Government, buy back our houses.” Another said: “Kids are asking: How can we grow up healthy?”

Public dissent in China is rare, and the government quickly clamped down on Chinese websites for “spreading rumors” about the blasts. But this incident—and the response to it—has prompted questions even in state-run media.

The People’s Daily criticized “the way public concerns have been addressed in the press conference held for the Tianjin blasts: things wouldn’t have been that hard to explain if officials could speak less jargon, more down-to-earth language and address them in a more candid way.”     [FULL  STORY]

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