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The Chinese Internet reports on Nanjing factory explosion

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Protests against factory before blast, broken windows after; source

Today is the 34th anniversary of the Tangshan earthquake, but the Chinese Internet has been buzzing the whole day with news of a different disaster.

State-owned news agency Xinhua reports:

A powerful explosion at a factory in eastern China's Jiangsu Province Wednesday killed at least six people and injured many more, witnesses and hospital sources said.

Xinhua reporters saw at least six people recorded as dead at hospitals treating people injured in the blast that ripped through an abandoned plastics and chemical factory in northern Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu.

An initial investigation showed gas leak from a pipeline going through the plant at Mufu East Road of Qixia District triggered the blast at about 10:10 a.m..

Buildings and vehicles within a 100-meter radius around the factory were seriously damaged.

Much of the commentary and reporting on the Internet by citizens has taken a very different line from Xinhua. A few noteworthy items:

• According to a posting on the Xici forum website linked below, residents have been warning about the dangers of having the factory since 2009. The posting calls the factory a "time bomb".

The photo above also shows before and after the blast photos taken in the area around the factory; the signs in the top photo complain about a factory in the residential area.

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Immediate satirical reaction: Chinese cartoon mocking official who stopped TV crew; source

• A Jiangsu TV journalist broadcasting live from the scene of the explosion was reprimanded by an official whose identity is currently being debated on the Chinese Internet. The official told the journalist to stop filming, saying "Who allowed you to broadcast live?" (哪个让你们做直播的)

This saying has been widely circulated on the Internet and is already the subject of mocking Photoshop jobs. The videos are still circulating on the Chinese Internet and have also been saved on various servers outside the country as they may get deleted from Chinese websites.

• One person posting on the XCar forum says that windows in buildings as far as 3km away from the blast have shattered. Link below with many photographs.

• At the time of writing, the official death toll is six, but Internet reports are claiming as many as 100 people dead.

Update (2010.7.29): The official death toll according to Xinhua is now 10.

See also ESWN: Newspaper Coverage Of Nanjing Gas Explosion

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