Steve's China Blog

Friday, March 21, 2008

Debunking rumors

Earlier this week there were some stories going around the internet here in China about some Tibetan terrorism taking place in ChengDu. The stories included pictures, and as the stories spread it got worse and worse. Eventually the story became...

On March 18, extremely terrifying events took place in Chengdu. At around the same time, Tibetan terrorist actions occurred on the east, west and south sides of Chengdu. At Huashi Hospital in the south side, five Tibetans suddenly used knives to attack and killed a patient waiting in the front, a pedestrian and a man waiting for a taxi. Two other attackers injured other members of the public as well. On a Number 78 bus on the websies, a Tibetan suddenly poured gasoline on a backpack. Then he sprayed the remaining gasoline onto the passengers. A fire was set off, but fortunately no one caught fire. When the fire was put out, it was discovered that there were five kilograms of dynamite in the bag. On the east side, several Tibetans suddenly assaulted pedestrians including small children. Two Han youth were also killed by a knife-wielding Tibetan at Telecommunications Road.

Note: Some of these pictures are rather graphic, so you might not want to click on them and enlarge them...

A lot of my co-workers were very scared. I bet a lot of people in town were. I'm not sure who put this story out. Some would think the government did it to stoke fear and hatred of Tibetans, but the government actually came out quickly against the story...

At 10:30pm on March 18, the deputy director of the Chengdu public security bureau held an emergency press conference to deal with the Internet-fueled rumors. Here are the facts as he presented them. At around 10:30am, a man visitor to Chengdu attempted to flag down a Number 78 bus. As the spot was not a bus stop, the driver did not open the door. So the man took out a knife and and smash the glass on the door. Afterwards, the man vented his fury by vandalizing two parked cars. During the process, he wounded a man who was waiting for a taxi. The police arrived quickly, put the man under control and took him away. So far, it has been established that the man is from the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan province.

Here is an English translation of the event by an eyewitness on

According to an eyewitness account: "I was coming out from Huahi hospital and ready to take the Number 45 bus home. As soon as I came out, I saw a Tibetan man swinging a machete. I was walking towards the bus stop and I went past a parked white car. The Tibetan smashed the car window with his machete because he wanted to go after the people inside. The driver started the car and sped away in terror. The Tibetan turned around and saw a young man coming down on a bicycle. With a few swings, he knocked the young man down on the ground. Someone called the police. The police cars came and more than a dozen of them cornered him by the iron fence in front of a garage. He kept swinging his machete and he even stabbed himself. Many more anti-riot and armed police officers arrived. The standoff lasted about 30 minutes. Finally, several armed police officers knocked his machete down and everybody rushed up to subdue him.

A lot of the posts and photographs that accompanied the internet stories appear to come from other events. The road under the bodies seems to be different from picture to picture. The picture of the bus that was said to have been attacked actually came from an incident in Fuzhou in 2005 (see story here). The only picture that came from the incident is the last one. The first one I'm not sure of.

Like I said earlier I am not sure who put this story together. I'm not sure what their motive was except maybe to create fear of and/or hatred against Tibetans. Yeah, that's what we need more of here in China... more fear and hatred.


Post a Comment

<< Home