Cheat-Seeking Missles

Sunday, July 30, 2006

This Just In: It's 1952 In China

In 1952, Americans were busy building fallout shelters. Now the Chinese are doing the same thing ... sort of (from the Times of London):
In the modern metropolis of Shanghai, construction has been completed on an underground bunker that can accommodate up to 200,000 people.

Its builders could have had the words of Chairman Mao in mind. At the height of the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, he said: “Dig deep tunnels, store piles of grain. Prepare for war, prepare food for the people.”

The bunker in Shanghai was built to shelter people in case of explosions, emissions of poisonous gas or nuclear radiation. State-run media gave no clue as to the source of such possible attacks. Nor did it explain how a complex covering 90,000sq m (968,400sq ft), could have been constructed in total secrecy.

The report yesterday was the first word about it. The underground haven has 15 passages nearly 2.5 miles (4km) in length that link to office towers and residential apartments. It is also connected to the subway system, enabling people to flee from one district to another. It was not clear where the rest of the city’s 17.78 million residents would take refuge.

Water, power and ventilation systems can support the bunker’s population for between seven and fifteen days. In times of peace, some parts can be used as garages, warehouses or commercial facilities.

Officials stopped short of revealing the exact location of the bunker in the bowels of a city renowned for its futuristic buildings and role as the financial heart of China.

What do you suppose China's up to? Taiwan comes to mind. If the militarists and Communists that run China have decided that it's time to lose patience with their rebellious "province," then an air raid shelter would certainly be in order. Not a positive development.

Or they could be worried about retaliation against North Korea, should Kim Il Jung push his nuke program too far. Prevailing easterly winds argue against that explanation.

Or, they could be afraid of themselves. A massive industrial explosion or radiation release is a distinct possibility, given the shoddiness of China's industrialization.

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