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A Look Inside China: Exploding Police Stations and Growing Unease

Incidents and protests erupting in China indicate the CCP's suppression of the people for many years has now triggered violent resistance from the public.



Screenshots from a video of the explosion involving the Zangtun Township Police Station in Dacheng County, Hebei Province. (Screenshots)

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) recently held its third-ever National Security Council meeting. During the meeting, Chinese Premier Xi Jinping used new extreme terms and phrases, which drew widespread attention. Meanwhile, various unprecedented events concerning the security of CCP governance have been occurring in China.

What is the relationship between Xi Jinping's heightened unease and the latest international and domestic situations?

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Read Part 1: China, From 'Bottom-Line Thinking' to 'Extreme-Scenario Thinking': What Happened In Between?

Chinese police security officers in Xinjiang on March 24, 2017. (REUTERS/Thomas /File Photo)

Exploding Police Stations

In recent times, an increasing number of malignant incidents have been occurring across China, indicating that the tensions between the public and the authorities have reached a boiling point. They also reflect the heightened fear and anxiety within the CCP. Here, I will briefly highlight four incidents to illustrate this situation.

The first incident occurred on May 26, 2023, at the Zangtun (臧屯) Township Police Station in Dacheng (大成) County, Hebei Province. There was a massive explosion at a police station there.

According to the official announcement afterward, the explosion resulted in the death of four police officers. Seven were injured, and there were two missing persons. The official cause was given as follows. "The explosion was triggered when the police were taking samples for identification of confiscated fireworks and firecrackers."

This statement immediately raised doubts among netizens: Do fireworks and firecrackers still need to be identified? Do ordinary police officers have the qualifications to collect and identify samples? Do ordinary police stations have the necessary conditions and equipment for sampling? 

What kind of explosive power could make two people disappear? The so-called disappearance might be due to being blown to pieces. Otherwise, how could they be missing?

Netizens Find the Facts

Sure enough, on May 29, a netizen revealed the inside story, stating that this was not an accidental incident. Rather, it was a local firecracker seller who had been fined by the police repeatedly for no reason. In the end, he got fed up, bought an explosive package, attached it to firecrackers, and went to the police station. He ignited it as soon as he entered, killing more than ten people, including the station chief.


Another netizen claimed that "11 people were blown to pieces." The so-called fireworks explosion was a lie.

Regardless of whether 4, 6, or more than 10 people died in this incident, it was an extremely unfortunate event. 

However, what frightened the authorities was that under the official reports about this incident, the majority of comments did not support the official viewpoint. Many people left comments urging the police to reflect on why such a thing could happen. These comments, receiving over a thousand approvals, only had a few people opposing them. 

The overwhelming view of the netizens appears to be that the police should be the first to reflect. Many people even expressed sympathy, support, or applause for the person who brought the explosive package to blow up the police station.

This indicates that the CCP's suppression of the people for many years has now triggered violent resistance from the public. If more people choose violent resistance, the CCP's police will be overwhelmed.

'Eastern Muslims' Resist Forced Demolition

On May 27, the CCP attempted to forcibly demolish a mosque in the Hui Muslim settlement area of Tonghai (通海) County in Yunnan Province. This sparked intense resistance from Muslim residents. The police and the people confronted each other for several days.

It was said that the CCP mobilized at least 5,000 armed police. And it implemented an internet shutdown near the mosque. However, the local residents also launched fierce resistance. Even after repelling the armed police, they destroyed the scaffolding used for forced demolition.

It was reported that tens of thousands of people participated in the resistance. Many people left comments online. They stated that this was the "Eastern Muslims" showing their courage to defend their traditions and beliefs. The "Eastern Muslims" are not to be trifled with, commenters said. There were many other such remarks.

Screenshot of the video of the woman's arrest receives 112,924 comments, which overwhelmingly support the arrested woman and condemn the police. (Screenshot)

110,000 Comments Condemning the Police

On May 26, a woman in Xilin (西林) County, Guangxi Province, posted a photo to her WeChat Moments of traffic police checking electric bikes. She added the caption, "It's better to stay home without going out! There are too many bandits." 

On the same afternoon, she was accused of insulting the traffic police and disturbing public order and got arrested.

On May 29, the police released a video of the woman's arrest. They didn't expect that underneath this video there would be posted more than 110,000 comments supporting the woman and mocking the police as bandits. One internet user said, "She was arrested for just a complaint. Truly bandit-like." Another person said, "Calling them bandits is actually praising them. They are worse than bandits."


Some people sarcastically claimed that the woman had committed the "crime of leaking a state secret."

From this incident, on the one hand, it can be seen to what extent the CCP currently controls speech. The woman's post only said, "There are too many bandits." She didn't even specify who the bandits were, yet she was detained.

On the other hand, the overwhelming support of over 110,000 netizens indicates the public sentiment, which can only make the CCP more fearful.

On October 13, 2022, Peng Lifa staged a protest on Sitong Bridge in Beijing. (Images provided by author.)

Eradication of 'Sitong Bridge': The CCP's Extreme Fear

The fourth incident is equally shocking.

In October 2022, before the 20th National Congress of the CCP, Peng Lifa, a Beijing resident also known as Peng Zaizhou, staged a lone protest on Sitong Bridge in Beijing. He put up several banners protesting Xi Jinping's dictatorial rule. He also used a loudspeaker to broadcast radical slogans like, "Boycott classes, go on strike, remove the dictatorial traitor Xi Jinping."  

His protest lasted less than half an hour before he was arrested. We know nothing about what happened to Peng after that.

Recently, local residents in Beijing discovered that the road sign with the words "Sitong Bridge" on the bridge had been removed.

On the left is a photo from October 13th last year, right after the protest happened. There was a road sign with blue background and white letters, indicating the name of the bridge, written in both Chinese and English. On the right is a recent photo captured from a video. The road sign is no longer on the bridge. (Screenshot, provided via author)

Not only that, but two major online map service providers in China have also prohibited search results for "Sitong Bridge." When one searches for "Sitong Bridge" on Baidu Maps, the result shows "No relevant location found."

This means that although the CCP swiftly arrested Peng Lifa, they are so fearful of the impact of his protest that they want to erase even the place where he protested from the maps.

A security official stands guard in front of Tiananmen Square in Beijing on June 2, 2023. (©Kyodo)

Tiananmen Again?

In 1989, the Tiananmen Square protests occurred on a massive scale. Although the CCP killed thousands of people at that time, they haven't reached the point of erasing the name "Tiananmen Square" from maps.

But this time, Peng Lifa's protest was attended by only one person and lasted less than half an hour. However, the CCP's fear seems greater than their fear of the Tiananmen Square protests. So much so that the CCP wants to completely eradicate the three characters "四通桥" or Sitong Bridge in English.

Using Xi Jinping's expression of "extreme-scenario thinking," this can be seen as an extreme manifestation of the CCP's fear of the possibility of the people rising up against it.


There is a Chinese idiom that goes "物极必反" (wuji bifan). This means that when a trend reaches its peak or limit, it will inevitably reverse its direction and develop or operate in the opposite way.

Therefore, when the neuroticism of the CCP reaches such an extreme, it is probably a manifestation that its ultimate demise is approaching.


Author: Jennifer Zeng

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