Update: The latest images from the massive fish die-off...
On Wednesday evening we noted that China, in what looks like an attempt to discourage investigative reports into Communist Party culpability for the explosion at Tianjin which killed more than a hundred people and injured more than 700 last week, revealed the previously unnamed majority shareholders of Tianjin International Ruihai Logistics.
The two men - a Mr. Yu and a Mr. Dong - have Party ties and admitted to using their political connections to skirt restrictions on the storage and handling of hazardous chemicals like sodium cyanide.
That admission isn’t likely to satisfy the Chinese public, which is looking for the head (figuratively speaking we hope) of someone higher up in the party, as scapegoating a few locals with tenuous Party ties doesn’t seem to constitute the type of wholesale, rigorous investigation that would indicate Beijing is serious about getting to the bottom of how 700 tonnes of toxic chemicals ended up being stored at a facility that was only licensed to warehouse a fraction of that total.
In any event, the "cyanide thunderstorms" we warned were rolling into the area have now blanketed Tianjin in a "mysterious" white foam. The images are below.
And as The South China Morning Post reports, some claimed the rain had burned their skin and lips, which would be consistent with a text message purported to have emanated from the American Embassy (which immediately denied its authenticity) advising workers to "avoid ALL contact" between their skin and any rain:
Some residents and journalists near the blast site in Tianjin experienced skin burns as rain hit the Binhai New Area on Tuesday.
Amid fears the rain could spark toxic reactions with chemicals at the site - in particular with hundreds of tonnes of sodium cyanide - an official urged the public to "stay far away".
As the rain progressed, an unusual white foam emerged on roads near the blast site. A journalist for Caixin reported feeling burns on the lips and arms after being exposed to the rain.
As for the official explanation for why the streets in Tianjin are now running white with what might very well be an extremely toxic, cyanide-laced foam, Tianjin's environmental monitoring center says it's "a normal phenomenon when rain falls, and similar things have occurred before."
And in case that wasn't enough of a punchline for you, here's a look at what happened after no chemicals were detected in the seawater around the blast site: