Yesterday, in the aftermath of the stunning report that 17 "massive" bomb explosions rocked Chinese city of Liuzhou, killing at least 7 and wounding at least 51, we asked if as a result of China's economic hard-landing and the surge in layoffs, the widespread popular unrest - which we suggested over the weekend is due for a comeback - has finally landed in China with tragic consequences, especially since the incident is clearly being treated as a criminal act.
We further noted that "if there is one thing China's politburo simply can not afford right now, is to layer public unrest and civil violence on top of an economy which is already in "hard-landing" move. Forget black - this would be the bloody swan that nobody could "possibly have seen coming."
Yesterday we got the first confirmation of this civil violence "bloody swan."
Less than 24 hours later, we got a second one, when earlier today another blast struck a sleepy area in the southern Chinese city of Liucheng, destroying a residential building.
According to the WSJ, it was unclear whether there were any casualties from Thursday’s explosion, but judging by the photos of the devastation which shows dramatic damage to a six-story building in Liucheng, it would be a miracle if nobody was injured.
Liucheng is a small county seat and is administratively part of the larger, nearby city of Liuzhou. In the wake of the explosions, post offices throughout Liuzhou are suspending delivery of packages until Oct. 3, Xinhua said. Authorities have also warned residents via text message against opening any suspicious parcels.
There was little more immediately available news:
A man answering the phone at a local courier-service company said that they had been temporarily ordered to cease operations and not told when they could resume. He said that police had warned locals not to trust strangers and hung up the phone.
Employees answering at the phone at the Liuzhou post office declined to comment. Phone calls to the local government’s information office rang unanswered.
The timing of the bomb attacks is hardly coincidental: "they come at a sensitive time as China kicks off its weeklong National Day holiday, with millions of people traveling. In the past, officials have sometimes played down or censored coverage of disasters, large accidents and other news over holidays, in part to damp a sense of public panic, according to media-monitoring groups."
Curiously, unlike on comparable previous occasions, China is not censoring the news of the two attacks in 24 hours, at least not on websites - it is intervening on social networks like Weibo:
Official news media largely featured coverage of the holiday, though most still placed news of the bombings prominently on websites. Social media, however, appeared to be attracting more scrutiny from authorities. Some posts on Weibo Corp. ’s Twitter-like service that questioned the authorities’ explanation of events and their decision to rule out terrorism were expunged, according to Free Weibo, a site that collects posts removed from Weibo."
Just as curioous, is that today's explosion takes place even as the authorities claim to have apprehended the person responsible for yesterday's bombings: police already apprehended a suspect, identified only as a 33-year-old man named Wei, a native of Liucheng county, according to Xinhua. Nothing was revealed about the possible motives for the attack..
Video: Police said the man suspected of causing multiple explosions in Guangxi has been identified pic.twitter.com/p5thvU8b4m— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) October 1, 2015
Yesterday we concluded by asking "will today's deadly bombing be the end of it, or is it just starting?" For now the answer appears to be the latter.