Today at 5:05pm, a fire broke out at a work shed minutes away from my office building resulting in a massive cloud of smoke. Naturally, like most alarmed citizens, instead of calling the authorities, they immediately snapped photos of the scene with their phones and posted it on their Sina micro blog (China’s version of Twitter.) Within minutes, thousands of photos capturing the incident had been posted online, which illustrated the power of online communications and social media in China.
Fortunately, no casualties were reported but for many people in the downtown Beijing area, it evoked memories of the CCTV tower that burned down in 2009. Thus, many people were unsurprised by the fire and went about their business simply saying that “the area has bad feng shui.”