The Tragedy of Tianjin

pic courtesy: Daily Mail

pic courtesy: Daily Mail

By now, we all might have heard about the massive & deadly explosions in Tianjin, China that has claimed more than 100 lives and injured at least 700. Eight thousand assembled cars, waiting for shipment, were also annihilated in the chemical explosion. The blasts seem to have originated from a warehouse owned by a Chinese company (Rui Hai International Logistics) that has stored hundred of tonnes of chemicals. Although the Chinese authorities have stayed away from giving a detailed list of the deadly chemicals, sodium cyanide is said to be the prevalent chemical, which was stored in excessive amounts.

Few newspaper & magazine (Guardian) report claims that sodium cyanide was stored 70 times the permitted, legal amount. There have also been assertions that the warehouse of the Chinese logistics company is illegally transporting explosive chemicals to countries all over the world. Initial eruption happened on August 12th, soon followed by a much larger explosion. While the first blasts were estimated to about 3 tons of TNT, the second blasts were about devastating 21 tons of TNT. Apart from the media claims of excessive storage of the chemicals, the officials haven’t announced the cause for explosions.


In August 2014, a metal dust-filled room at an auto parts factory, situated near Shanghai, witnessed an explosion, which claimed 75 lives. The government has only left out little information about the toxins involved in the explosions, in both the man-made disaster events, making the general public to wonder about the industrial safety and regulatory policies. Other than the huge evacuation activities, the major problem faced by the authorities is rain, which poses the dangers of mixing the residues of deadly chemicals into the water supplies. Government has clearly stated that contaminated water is quarantined and would near reach residential areas, but still fear looms over the environmental impact of the blasts.

Tianjin internet police have also issued warning about spreading ‘rumors’ and ‘dangerous tweets’ regarding the cause and impact of the explosions. Nearly 400 Weibo and WeChat accounts were said to be shut down. The comments of criticism on the emergency response were also instantly deleted. But, there really has been some fake news, following the blasts. Various videos were posted, stating that they were the explosion videos, while only while were confirmed as authentic. Beijing news reports claimed that sodium cyanide has already got into Tianjin’s sewer system and that sodium cyanide when mixes with water would produce highly inflammable hydrogen cyanide gas. It remains mysterious that whether Chinese authorities are genuinely clamping down on undisputed facts or else they are blocking out certain aspects of the truth.

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