On July 1, Xinhua News printed a report about the night that a tragic fire occurred at Jixian Ryder Commercial Building in Tianjin, claiming that 10 people were killed with 16 people slightly injured.
Since then, conflicting reports have questioned the true death toll and assert that official accounts are false.
The latest unofficial news, compiled from local residents and posted on Hong Kong’s Oriental Daily website, lists the names of more than 500 victims as well as detailed causes of death.
Reporters from China Reporter Investigation, a website that publishes in depth investigative reports, had previously written that at least 378 people died in the fire, and that there are still many family members looking for their loved ones.
A local official also told a China Reporter Investigation reporter on July 6 that, according to orders, no one is allowed to talk about the fire and the victims. No one is allowed to participate in any memorial ceremony, otherwise the punishment will be based on Party discipline, based on a Sina Weibo post. This post was deleted before July 8.
“It is initially confirmed that the order came from an official from the Tianjin Party Committee. This official has repeatedly stressed that all Party members and cadres of Tianjin should unanimously speak with one voice, and be considerate of the overall situation for the sake of their livelihood, stability, and harmony,” the deleted report said.
On July 1, the communist regime’s mouthpiece, People.com, posted on Chinese language social media that a reporter from People’s Daily was being followed while traveling in Jixian. The link to his report, titled “Locals Suspicious about the Number of Deaths in the Fire,” was deleted.
Similarly, Yanyao Bin, a reporter from China Business newspaper, said in a post at Sina Weibo that an arrogant police officer with the tag number 400471 told him that taking photos was forbidden at every place in Tianjin.
A local resident, Mr. Liu, told The Epoch Times he heard that someone from Tianjin is going to be promoted at the 18th National Congress and therefore is desperately trying to minimize this tragedy.
Based on many Internet posts, which quote from blogger Liu Jia’s posts, this leading official is claimed to be Zhang Gaoli. Liu Jia’s original post has disappeared but has been copied and spread numerous times.
Writer Liu Yiming, one of the top 10 most popular writers at Phoenix Web, published an article in Deutsche Welle and stated: “As the CCP’s 18th National Congress is approaching, the incumbent Tianjin Party Secretary Zhang Gaoli is considered a contender in the new Politburo Standing Committee. A security incident with such significance at this moment definitely has a negative impact for Zhang Gaoli. Therefore, Zhang Gaoli is probably the most anxious bigwig concerned with the Jixian fire. Official media did not disclose any specific instruction by Zhang Gaoli.”
Read original Chinese article.