Chinese state media on Tuesday said the U.S. government and media outlets are so preoccupied with spy balloon hysteria that they were ignoring the toxic train derailment in Ohio, possibly one of the worst environmental disasters of the modern era.
The state-run Global Times quoted “Chinese experts” who said the chemical leak released by the Ohio train accident could have “lingering effects” for at least 20 years, and the situation may have been made worse by the decision to stage a “controlled burn” of the toxic gasses.
Data released on Monday by the railroad company did indeed suggest the chemical spill was much worse than the authorities originally believed, including not only a large quantity of volatile vinyl chloride but also carcinogenic substances and phosgene, a gas that was used as a chemical weapon in World War I.
“The fact that such a catastrophe occurred for more than a week without being extensively reported also reflects toxic trend in US political and media circle, who are too obsessed with creating imaginary enemies, and hyping outside ‘threats’, such as the Chinese balloon, that they pay little attention to their own people’s calls,” the Global Times pontificated.
The majority of likely general election voters say that the Biden administration mishandled or should have handled sooner the Chinese spy balloon that traveled across the continental United States last week, a poll found. https://t.co/MTn7Qaa7yP
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) February 8, 2023
The Chinese paper noted people living near the train crash are using social media to complain about health problems, even as officials claim the chemical spill is completely contained. As luck would have it, some Chinese students living in Pittsburgh were on hand to tell the Global Times that trust in the Biden administration’s ability to keep the public informed and safe is evaporating faster than the toxic gasses:
Four Chinese students in Pittsburg, which is about one hour away from East Palestine, Ohio, said that the local government has tried to whisk away danger of spillover of the incident, yet the public is suspicious. Many people are now stockpiling mineral water, for fearing the water may be contaminated, some supermarkets are even out of stock of bottled water, said one Chinese student surnamed Xu.
On Sunday, the US Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], after monitoring the air, said it had not detected contaminants at “levels of concern” in and around East Palestine, although residents may still smell odors. Working with Norfolk Southern and the Columbiana County Emergency Management Agency, the EPA had screened the air inside about 290 homes as of Monday, and said it had not detected vinyl chloride or hydrogen chloride, which can cause life-threatening respiratory issues.
More Chinese experts were quoted to the effect that controlled burns are a terrible means of dealing with a vinyl chloride leak, because “substances that are many times more toxic than the gas itself” would be released, some of them with long-term deleterious effects on humans and the environment.
This led the Global Times to the arrest of a journalist who was attempting to cover the chemical spill, and the growing conviction among critics the Biden administration and left-wing media are colluding to keep coverage of the embarrassing disaster to a minimum.
Chinese social media users, on the other hand, are obsessed with the story, generating at least 50 top-ranked topics on Weibo, China’s heavily-censored version of Twitter.
Eric Whiting/LOCAL NEWS X /TMX
“Many netizens even wondered whether the U.S. recent hyping of Chinese balloon, which happened at almost the same time as the train derailment incident, is a move deployed by the U.S. government to divert the public’s attention,” the Global Times said, quoting a few handy Weibo posts and a Chinese political scientist making that very assertion.
“The Ohio accident actually exposed the fact that U.S. is suffering from ‘political cancer’ as the government now whisked away simmering public concerns over a health catastrophe, but politicians tried a repertoire of tricks to make a fuss about a harmless Chinese balloon,” said the academic, Li Haidong of the Institute of International Relations at China Foreign Affairs University.
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