- The local government in Baishan, Jilin Province was forced to apologise after the Chinese military accidentally tear gassed the town during annual military drills, Chinese media reports.
- As the affected city is located near the China-North Korea border, the incident sparked fears and rumours among local residents.
The local government for a Chinese city in the northwestern part of the country was forced to apologise Friday after the military accidentally tear gassed the town, according to Chinese media.
In an apology statement issued online, the government of Baishan, a town in Jilin Province, revealed that a sudden change in the wind during an annual military training exercise resulted in tear gas from the outskirts of the city being blown into the downtown area, according to the Global Times, a state-affiliated media outlet.
Local residents reportedly poured into Baishan hospitals.
“We inhaled very pungent gas, and my nose and throat itched for days, but no one bothered to tell us what happened,” one local resident complained, according to the Asia Times. “Not too many believe it was just because of a military drill.”
Baishan authorities said that the effects of the tear gas would wear off but advised local residents to see a doctor if the discomfort persisted.
Given its proximity to North Korea, the incident sparked fears that North Korea had fired tear gas into Chinese territory. Other observers suspected that the Chinese military was training to handle a flood of North Korean refugees.
Chinese military experts have largely dismissed these claims. It is unclear exactly what happened, and it is possible this information will never be made public.
Serious concerns over the possibility of a chemical, biological, or nuclear catastrophe have long lingered over Jilin and Liaoning provinces, both of which border North Korea.
Last December, the Jilin Daily published “common sense” guidelines for surviving a nuclear war.
China’s Communist Party run newspaper #JilinDaily uses a whole page Wednesday to tell people how to survive a #nuclear war. Jilin is close to China’s border with #NorthKorea #DPRK pic.twitter.com/gW8tAKzU23
— Henry Yin (@HenryYinCNA) December 6, 2017
The Chinese article was reportedly published at the request of Jilin Provincial People’s Air Defence Office to strengthen “national defence education.”
In April of last year, unusual reports surfaced in official Chinese news portals suggesting that China might launch a military strike on North Korea if a weapons test negatively impacted China or its citizens.
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