Today, Xinhua ran its second story in a week claiming success in reducing the amount of explosives available for criminal use in China. Unlike the week’s earlier story, which only provided statistics on the overall decline in explosive-related crime, today’s story provided numbers on just what’s being seized and destroyed – in a remote, 80% Tibetan county, on the edge of Sichuan Province:
- 19,676 guns (of which 577 are “used military weapons” — how’d they get those?)
- 4,725 kg of dynamite (!)
- 236 hand grenades (!!)
As big as those numbers may seem (to me, at least), they’re mere fractions compared to the seizures that took place from June to September of 2006, during what Xinhua characterized as a “national crackdown.” Among other items, that crackdown took in:
- 178,000 guns
- 3,900 tons of explosives
- 7.7 million detonators
As I noted earlier this week, some of the explosive seizures are – apparently – focused on illegal coal mining. Which might go some way to explaining the 7.7 million detonators (!!!) in the April figures. At least, I hope so. Whatever the real origins of this recent emphasis on explosive seizures, Xinhua and its sources explain the Tibetan one as an effort to improve “real stability” in a remote regions where – earlier this year – a gun battle erupted between 200 warriors from rival villages in a dispute over the right to harvest a rare wild fungus.
Clearly, it’s about the fungus.