Changes in the Honest City

By now, most readers will know the Honest City is Tianjin, as Lucile de Godoy guessed.

A decade ago, when I lived in Tianjin, bureacrats and ordinary folk were very honest. In the ensuing years, a lot has changed in China. Corruption has become endemic.

The former head of China’s domestic security, Zhou Yongkang has been jailed for life after being sentenced earlier this year in a closed court in Tianjin.

A few days ago, I watched as Tianjin’s Mayor made a live broadcast on television,  saying he had “an unavoidable responsiblity” for the accident. They mayor looked, tired and stressed.

Police and army representatives honour the dead in the Tianjin explosions.

I watched as those responsible for controlling the wreckage bowed to honour the dead.

Tianjin residents protest and demand compensation for their dead relatives and destroyed homes.

I saw television footage of Tianjin people protesting, demanding answers – why had their relatives died. When would they be compensated?

I found out that Bob Dylan was right.



A hard rain did fall in Tianjin.

White foamy rain caused from cyanide in the air from the Tianjin explosion.

White, foamy rain. Cyanide in the air. People scratching and itching, their arms painful and inflamed. Cyanide.

– TIANJIN, CHINA – AUGUST 20: (CHINA OUT) Workers collect dead fish along the shore of Haihe River Dam on August 20, 2015 in Tianjin, China. According to the Tianjin Environmental Protection Bureau on Thursday, experts have collected samples for further investigation. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)

Dead fish filled the rivers. The Hai River was a mass graveyard of poisoned fish.

Drawing of Project Thor, from

I found out the the USA has researched a kinetic weapon  called Project Thor. Maybe. No one is quite sure if it’s fact or fiction. Project Thor is a “kinetic missile system” or an “orbiting tungsten telephone pole” that is satellite controlled, and can drop projectiles quickly. During the Vietnam War an earlier prototype of this kind of weapon was used, the so-called “Lazy Dog bomb”.

It’s a bit hard to believe everything you read on the world wide web. One site claims the lake which emerged near the Tianjin catastrophe could only have done so after projectiles hitting it, due to the lake formation, the land patterns around it, and other evidence, photographic comparison included. I don’t know – take a look here and decide for yourself.

Back in China, the government says up to 18 billion Yuan will be spent on compensation for those who have suffered. Days after the eruption, fires are still spreading over Tianjin. PLA forces and cleanup experts have been sent in to assess the air – and assure everyone it is “okay”. One government official said he had been standing out in the rain, but saw “nothing unusual” and his skin was “not itchy”. Yet a fire officer who is part of the cleanup operation noted that dangerously high levels of sodium cyanide were in the air, along with high levels of nerve gas.  Meanwhile, animals in cages have been placed near the blast cite, to “prove” that the air is safe.

There’s greedy, corrupt people all over the world. Whilst some officials are taking blame, or being blamed – China’s top workplace safety official Yong Donglian was taken into custody – the owners of the warehouse admiting bribing government officials to overlook regulations and senior managers being detained for questioning, it’s becoming apparant that the USA’s  use of kinetic strikes to destabilise ‘targets’ has become modus-operandi.

Until yesterday, I had not even heard of the term “kinetic strike”, yet a NASA document from 2009, according to

quotes military figures saying  “Did you ever think you would see the day when the U.S. would be conducting combat operations in a country equipped with nuclear weapons without a boot on the ground or a pilot in the air?”.

Chilling words. Could “kinetic strikes” have been used in Tianjin in order to counter percieved economic threats from the devalued Yuan? When tragedies abound, conspiracy theories soar.

There’s really only one bottom line. If the owners of Ruihai had not colluded with corrupt officials to store extremely dangerous chemicals, toxic chemicals could not have been released into the Tianjin waters and air. Sodium cyanide and other chemicals are used to mine for gold, silver and diamonds – so these chemicals are in global demand, and are seen as “easy money”.

The people of Tianjin are paying the price. One man, whose house was shattered, asked in a videoed shown on Australian television, “if I was here,” – pointing to the bedroom where he normally would have been sleeping at 11.30pm when the blasts occured – “would I still have a neck?” “The glass is like daggers,” he went onto say, pointing to the shards of glass covering his living room.

Zhou Enlai – China’s previous premier, renowned as a honest politician and adored by Tianjin locals for the many people he saved during the Cultural Revolution, must be turning in his grave.