On August 20th, gas leakage from a chemical plant in Wutongqiao District of Leshan city was reported by netizens. Based on the videos of the scene, massive amounts of smoke were floating in the air and the surrounding environment was barely visible. The major road in the city was flooded with cars attempting to escape from the city1. Per the local residents, people were escaping at any cost. The gas was in high density and came with acrid smell. Many experienced breathing difficulties. Gas leakages and explosions had occurred multiple times, but the government had taken no actions to resolve issues. A whistleblower claimed the leaked air of this time was Trichlorosilane, which causes explosions easily. This put many people’s lives in danger2.
As the escape was happening, the government officials of Wutongqiao District denied the existence of burning, gas leakages or explosions from any of the local chemical plants. They claimed that no toxic gas had exceeded the standard levels3.
The first action the government took was not to stop the gas leakage or facilitate the evacuation, but to cover up the incidents. Their claims were in contrast to the videos taken by local residents. The videos vividly recorded the massive amounts of smoke covering the urban areas and heavy traffic jams as thousands trying to flee the city. Cover-ups left gas leakages to cause more severe damages and these incidences repeat themselves. Local residents reported multiple leakages and explosions from the past. The government took no actions back then as they were not put in the spotlight. All they cared about were their political images and achievements. To them, lives of local residents were not worth their attention. This is just a miniature of lives under the rules of the Chinese Communist Party.
- “四川樂山氣體洩露 居民大逃亡 ”Epochtimes. Http://www.epochtimes.com/b5/20/8/20/n12346444.htm
- “乐山现不明异味气体市民自发撤离，官方：区内化工企业无异常” ThePaper. https://m.thepaper.cn/newsDetail_forward_8806279
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