Tianjin: Confidence more important than food

If the Tianjin explosion was an inside job, which I suspect it was, then what might the motive be?

The answer might be found in this Confucius quote:
Zigong asked about government.

The Master said, "The requisites of government are that there be sufficient food, sufficient military equipment, and the confidence of the people in their ruler."

Zigong said, "If one had to dispense with one of those three, which should be given up first?" "The military equipment, " said the Master.

Zigong again asked, "If one had to dispense with one of the two remaining, which should be given up?"

The Master answered, "Give up the food. From of old, death has always been the lot of men; but if the people have no faith in their rulers, they cannot stand."
So, Confucius is saying that a nation can recover from material loss, including deaths. But it's a far more serious matter when the people lose confidence in their leaders. So, if some people have to die to maintain confidence in your rulers, then so be it, according to Confucius.

The Tianjin explosion followed shortly after China's stock market crash, where a lot of people lost a lot of money. Confidence in Xi Jinping's leadership was shattered, given that the Communist Party had encouraged people to invest in stocks, rather than property.

All of a sudden, China's leaders went from geniuses to fools. Xi Jinping would not have been on these people's Christmas card list.

So, what would China's leaders do in this situation? It would not be surprising if they did something to (a) distract people's attention away from the stock crisis and (b) censor talk that dramatised the crisis and questioned the leadership of Xi Jinping and (c) found some minions to blame.

The Tianjin explosion was a perfect distraction, and the government did censor talk about the crisis:
China arrests man for suicide 'rumors' amid stock market rout

Chinese authorities have arrested a man who allegedly spread rumors about people in Beijing jumping off buildings in response to a stock market crash, state television reported on Sunday.

The 29-year-old man, surnamed Tian, was detained for "disorderly behavior", China Central Television said.

He alleged wrote on social media on July 3 that "there are people, because of the stock market crash, who have jumped off buildings in Beijing's Financial Street," a commercial development in downtown that houses many financial institutions.
All the boxes were ticked: distraction, censorship, and they scapegoated journalists and professionals for "spreading rumours" that accelerated the collapse.

Restoring confidence in Xi was especially important because he would soon be sticking his head out of a moving car, while driving down a military parade.

And all this comes on the back of China's slowing economy:

So, the Tianjin explosion could simply have been one giant distraction, to get past the stock market crash, while avoiding a crisis of confidence in Xi's leadership.


The other dimension to the market crash is how China responded externally. I suspect that China blames its stock market crash on America, specifically a Morgan Stanley downgrade, which China interpreted as an act of economic warfare.

Subsequently, China retaliated by devaluing their currency and dumping US loans. There is also speculation that China began covertly attacking America, and allies, with all manner of "accidents", as per their doctrine of unrestricted warfare. But that's a big topic, and will have to wait for another time.

File under: the art of distraction.

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