Xiamen Public Bus Fire and Arson Suspect Chen Shuizong

Xiamen public bus fire extinguished.

Xiamen public bus fire extinguished.

Below is a translation of various media reports, articles, and Chinese netizen comments over the past week regarding the June 7th Xiamen Public Bus Fire and arson suspect Chen Shuizong from major Chinese web portal Sina. These article were amongst the most read and commented “domestic news” articles on the website at time of translation. First, a video of the incident that has over 6.3 million views, and displayed as the #1 most viewed video of the past week…

On Youku:

Xiamen BRT Rapid Public Transit Had an Explosion Around 6:30pm on [June] 7th, Scene Extremely Frightening

Xiamen Public Bus Fire Has Already Resulted in 47 Deaths. At around 6:20pm on the 7th, a Fujian province Xiamen public bus suddenly caught fire during operating. 6:45pm, the fire was extinguished. General Secretary Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, and Central Political and Law Commission Secretary Meng Jianzhu issued important instructions. Ministry of Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun had a State Council working group rush to Xiamen to lead in the handling of the matter. At present, the reason for the fire is currently under investigation.

Commenting is currently not allowed on this Youku video.

Black smoke rising for a Xiamen public transportation bus on an elevated road.

On Sina:

Xiamen Public Bus Fire Preliminarily Determined to be a Serious Criminal Case

Xiamen Net – The Xiamen municipal government press office announced: Around 6:20 on the 7th, a Fujian province Xiamen city public bus suddenly caught fire during operation, causing a total of 47 deaths and 34 hospitalized for injuries. A State Council working group organized by the relevant department of the State Council, the departments of public security, criminal investigation, and fire-fighting of the Ministry of Public Security, and relevant experts arrived at Xiamen around 1am on the 8th, and are currently actively carrying their work. According to findings on scene by relevant experts working with the local Public Security Bureau, the tires of the public bus were normal, the fuel tank intact, that the accelerant found on the scene was tested to be gasoline, whereas the public bus uses a diesel engine, and therefore it could be ruled out that it was a safety accident [an accident caused by faulty manufacturing]. According to initial determinations, this is a serious criminal case, and the relevant circumstances are currently under investigation.

As it is understood, the State Council working group has already worked with the Fujian provincial committee and provincial government to mobilize the best medical care, researching and drawing up medical treatment plans for all of the wounded, carrying out medical treatment and nursing work. Simultaneously, according to the “one person one group” principle, they have established multiple small groups, actively carrying out the various aspects of handling the aftermath.

Comments on Sina:


This kind of vicious cases will increase, the [result of] accumulation of social problems, always looking for a way to erupt. Society is becoming more and more dangerous/vicious.


The result of the investigation will be that the suspect died in the fire, due to mental problems and wanting to take revenge on society. The dead cannot testify…


Killed 38 people, wounded over 30 people, just how much resentment of society did this involve! China, go [develop] slower, wait for your people. When economic development is too fast, and there is serious polarization, the people’s characters cannot keep up, and the most direct result is too much hostility and the build up of resentment into hate, and ultimately taking it out on society…


If it was taking revenge on society, wouldn’t this be too stupid? You could ask anyone on the street and they would happily tell you where the government [office] is, why involve the innocent city residents?


Such a simple thing still needs investigating? Stop embarrassing yourselves, everyone knows just with a look! That must’ve been done by some “temporary worker“… Just grab a few “temporary workers” and execute them! How much simpler it would be… After all, the people who do bad things in this society are all “temporary workers“… How “hard” it must be for those government officials, so busy with drinking tea, reading the newspaper, and bullying the ordinary common people during the day, and having to go to nightclubs and bars to “discuss work”… How busy they are, how could they have time to do these bad things…

Xiamen public bus fire extinguished.

On Sina:

Xiamen Public Bus Fire Incident Has Identified a Suspect

Through the Xiamen police’s full investigation, the present “6·7” incident [June 7th] has already identified a suspect, with the break in the case moving the case along. From: Xiamen Municipal Public Security Bureau.

Surveillance video of Xiamen Public Bus Arson suspect Chen Shuizong.

On Sina:

Xiamen Public Bus Fire Criminal Suspect’s Family Say He Had Petitioned Over Cancellation of His Basic Living Allowance [Social Security/Welfare Payment]

Southern Daily (Reporter: Zhang Xuebin) – According to suspect Chen Shuizong’s second brother, his younger brother had previously collected “minimum living allowance” [a sort of welfare payment], but had it cancelled after leaving town to work, and his younger brother had petitioned authorities over this. The last time he saw his younger brother was yesterday afternoon [June 7th], where his younger brother did not exhibit any abnormal behavior at all, and had left the home on his own. This morning, a large number of police officer entered the Chen family home to search and investigate. The second brother says even now he doesn’t know if his younger brother is dead or alive.

The second brother claims his younger brother’s temperament isn’t bad, but would explode in anger sometimes. The brothers’ relationship is also not particularly harmonious.

Comments on Sina:


For the truly poor, the basic living allowance is his hope for survival!
Beasts would not understand the importance of this basic living allowance.


This basic living allowance is something provided for the families of neighborhood committees. Ordinary people should just bugger off.


This is the consequence of when government officials do not do what they are supposed to do. In the future, these kind of things will all happen to the government officials themselves.


Government officials too are led astray by prevailing practices. When the system is imperfect, it can never get on the right track.


Everyone share your thoughts. Nowadays, it is strange to see government officials (especially those with privilege, money, and power) out in public! Normally, aside from going on the news to publicize their work achievements, one very rarely sees their faces in life; Without exaggerating, current Chinese government officials long ago become completely separated from the masses [normal society]! When they face the masses’ interests, they abandon all shame and each and every one of them grab and seize like wolves and tigers! @China Youth Daily @Phoenix Online @Hong Kong Weipo

Xiamen public bus fire.

On Sina:

Xiamen Public Bus Arson Suspect Chen Shuizong Was Burned to Death On The Scene

The Xiamen Municipal Government Press Office announced: Through meticulous investigation by the Public Security Bureau, the Fujian province Xiamen city public bus arson that caused multiple deaths and injuries case has been solved. Criminal suspect Chen Shuizong was burned to death on the scene [of the fire].

After the case occurred, the person in charge of the Ministry of Public Security’s criminal investigations department as well as relevant experts accompanying the State Council working group that arrived in Xiamen on the early morning of the 8th immediately worked with the local Public Security Bureau in launching an investigation. Through on-site examinations, the investigation and identification of material evidence, and DNA comparisons, they ultimately identified the suspect.

Criminal suspect Chen Shuizong is a Xiamen local, and was born 1954. Through deep and meticulous police investigation and technological comparisons, as well as finding a suicide note in his home, it has been verified that a pessimistic, world-weary Chen Shuizong who felt life was not going his way vented his grievances by setting the fire.

Comments on Sina:


The next Chen Shuizong, please don’t vent your anger on the innocent ordinary common people. Look at that grand and imposing government building. Go burn that. We’ll call you a martyr.


I’m reminded of Soviet poet Vladimir Mayakovsky words: “When society forces you into a corner, don’t forget that you have behind you a way out, which is to commit a crime, and remember that this is not shameful.” Every time I read that line, I always shiver with fear!


Although Chen Shuizong has been denounced and spurned, but this incident is the biggest thing he has done in his life, even if it is the final thing. If I too were one of the victims, I could understand him. In reality, the lowly people have too much helplessness. They are like snails bearing heavy burdens crawling with their heads down, suffering people rolling their eyes at them, and just who has sympathized with them before? They also have their own dreams, their own demands, but all they get is derision and anger. As long as they are people with self-respect, they certainly must be thinking of how to use even greater anger to take revenge on this society.


Of course it is the government’s responsibility! Singapore congressmen regularly visit the homes of the poor, to see what help they can provide, while China’s government officials would love nothing better than all the poor to just die off, that the rural countryside fade away, and all the backward areas all disappear!

中国的东倒西歪的老东西唐新伟 [新浪个人认证] [黑龙江哈尔滨]

Why was the bad guy so cruel and inhumanly angry?

A Xiamen Daily editorial criticizing public sympathy for bus arson suspect Chen Shuizong.

On Sina:

Xiamen Daily News: Completely Insane People Like Chen Shuizong Must Be Put to Death By Society

Xiamen Daily News Commentary/Editorial

Yesterday, Xiamen police released the primary evidence against the Xiaomen Public Bus arsonist Chen Shuizong. Comprehensive witness testimony, material evidence, technological identification, and other various investigation results irrefutably prove that Chen Shuizong is the culprit in this arson case.

It doesn’t matter what kind of motive he had, the completely crazed attack on public transportation and the taking of 46 innocent people’s lives, just what level of severely antisocial crime is that! What could not be endured! This kind of extreme act completely pierces through the bottom limit of humanity, something that society completely cannot tolerate, and should get the the most intense condemnation from the public!

However, alert, we have noticed that there exists noise in the streets. An extreme minority of netizens insist on summing up Chen Shuizong’s perverse criminal motivations as his personal life’s misfortune. There are also a few spectators who have connected Chen Shuizong’s sinister act with the so-called “injustice” that he suffered and have a sympathetic attitude. This kind of noise, even if it is of the extreme minority, contains a definite “danger”, neglecting objectively the severe societal harm that was caused by the act of arson, distracting from the nature of the legal problem, covering up the essence of social problems, and even more so misleading the people to give sympathy to this kind of extreme behavior. This kind of indiscriminate sympathy, in the end, is essentially a kind of evil, a “massacring” of the law’s sanctity, public sentiments, and social psychology.

Just think, had Chen Shuizong had just one shred of humanity, how could he have the heart to do such a thing to a public bus packed with passengers? If he still had the most basic conscience, how could he have taken his individual so-called grudge out on all of society? Before the incident, he calmly made preparations, picked the bus with the most passengers at the bus stop, deliberately intending to cause an even greater amount of casualties. With such behavior, how can anyone sympathize? Such behavior, is there even a shred of humanity left? From the moment he decided to take revenge on society, he stood opposite the public, which is to say he was a public enemy of the people!

Punishing the evil and holding up the good is everyone’s responsibility. the person responsible for the Xiamen Public Bus Arson clearly involves the evil characteristic of taking revenge on society. This kind of vengeful behavior cannot be forgiven and we express the strictest condemnation. In the face of this principle of right and wrong, even minority public opinion cannot have the least bit of erroneous judgement, otherwise it may severely mislead/misguide, encouraging certain people with hidden antisocial tendencies to commit crimes. If so, just what kind of situation will society be in then? Just what kind of state of affairs will every person be in? This is something that you, I, him, everyone will never approve of!

Those who play with fire must burn themselves. Chen Shuizong set a fire and was himself burned to death. In the hearts of the public, he will only forever be spurned and denounced.

Comments on Sina:


Him not having any humanity is one aspect, but have you considered, who wants to die together with society [take others with them]? He went to apply for social insurance so many times. That desperation and hopelessness, is that not something government officials can understand? While condemning him for his inhumanity, does this society not have any blame? If we continue to ignore the needs of ordinary city residents, similar incidents will continue to happen.


What kind of logic is this? If you’re sick, you have to blame yourself, and can’t investigate the cause of the sickness? A person who has been marginalized and abandoned by society, was being forced into doing something desperate also something he came up with? I instead happen to think he is a normal person. He used his life to remind everyone the problem of power/privilege, but no one pays attention. Should he live like a dog?! The worst.


When has the law given him dignity so why should he give the law dignity?


Any society would have unreasonable isolated phenomenon, so even if you have an enormous grievance, just why should the other innocent 47 people accompany you in death?! 15 children who were taking the gaokao college entrance examination! Just who did they wrong!? Those people who for no reason express sympathy for this “Chen Shuizong” who is no better than an animal, other than trying to play to the gallery, do you have any basic conscience left at all? If it were up to me, this society simply should not allow people like “Chen Shuizong” to exist! They should be killed when discovered!


The level [of intelligence, thought] of the person who wrote this article is truly pathetic. He thinks he’s speaking for the government but is actually causing more problems than helping. We should bravely face these problems. Although what netizens are saying is not all correct, a lot of it is worth us thinking about. As a Xiamen’s print media, Xiamen Daily News should be broad-minded, and sincerely face everyone’s criticism. The masses’ eyes are clear, a few words are not going to fool everyone. Instead of screaming yourself hoarse, go all out. Less arguing about things that are unimportant like right and wrong and focus on the future, how to guard against [such incidents]. That is what is most important. That requires collecting opinions from everyone, and requires a lot of tolerance, regardless of what others say, focus on those that are rational, are reasonable, and be understanding of the emotional and sentimental. There is nothing that is perfect in this world, everything is constantly and continuously being improved. If it is about using the pain of loss or reminding everyone to cherish the beauty/good they have, then having this one lesson is enough. Everyone from this point on treat kindly those people around you (including the living people like Chen Shuizong), because it is treating kindly oneself.

Xiamen Public Bus arson suspect Chen Shuizong in old photo as security guard.


Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


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