The detonation of a bomb this afternoon outside the US Embassy in Beijing was understandably the topic of feverish social media activity, rapidly dominating WeChat groups. Many people in the area posted photos and video in the immediate aftermath of the incident. And predictably, the authorities moved quickly to contain comment and speculation — though certainly with limited success. As one user remarked: “WeChat groups are swamped!”

Screenshot of video posted online showing smoke engulfing the area around the US Embassy in Beijing.

Below we have a selection of Weibo posts about the explosion that were deleted from the platform. We have arranged them in order of appearance, the first happening at 1:30PM Beijing time, 20 minutes or so after the explosion.

A search on Weibo for “embassy” (大使馆) now turns up an array of official responses to the explosion, including information from the official Weibo account of the Beijing police, and the response from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as reported by the Global Times. Said MOFA spokesman Geng Shuang (耿爽): “I want to say that this incident which happened at Tianze Road and Anjialou Road is an isolated security incident, and the Chinese police have already swiftly and appropriately dealt with it.”

The bomb was reportedly detonated by a single attacker, who has been identified as a 26-year-old man from Inner Mongolia surnamed Jiang. Other than the attacker, no one was injured in the attack.

If you want to understand how sensitive the sharing of eyewitness material can be in China, definitely watch this thread from AFP correspondent Becky Davis.

 

2018-07-26 13:30:46 | An explosion at the US Embassy . . . Huh?

2018-07-26 13:30:46 | 美国大使馆爆炸。。。呃 ?

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2018-07-26 13:43:11 | What’s up with the US Embassy?  http://t.cn/Rp7gR9V ​

2018-07-26 13:43:11 | 美国大使馆怎么了? http://t.cn/Rp7gR9V ​

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2018-07-26 13:47:04 | At the US Embassy, a video provided by a web user http://t.cn/ReygA33

2018-07-26 13:47:04 | 美国大使馆,视频来自网友提供。 http://t.cn/ReygA33

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2018-07-26 13:47:45 | 【Explosion Occurs at US Embassy in Beijing】According to numerous internet users, it’s possible that an explosion occurred just now in the area of the US Embassy in Beijing. There is already a police line around the area of the embassy. from Sohu News http://t.cn/ReyrNxx

2018-07-26 13:47:45 | 【美国驻华大使馆附近疑似发生爆炸】据多名网友爆料,刚刚,在位于北京的美国驻华大使馆附近疑似发生爆炸。使馆附近已经拉起了警戒线。 via.搜狐新闻 http://t.cn/ReyrNxx

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2018-07-26 13:49:20 | What’s going on at the US Embassy? ​

2018-07-26 13:49:20 | 美國大使館怎麼啦? ​

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2018-07-26 13:50:34 | Is Trump secretly visiting China? http://t.cn/Reyez3i ​

2018-07-26 13:50:34 | 特朗普沒私下訪華吧? http://t.cn/Reyez3i ​

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2018-07-26 13:51:40 | Hong Kong Media: An explosion has occurred outside the US Embassy in Beijing. It is suspected that a petitioner caused the explosion. http://t.cn/ReyeiqX ​

2018-07-26 13:51:40 | 港媒:北京美国驻华大使馆外发生爆炸 疑似访民引爆炸药http://t.cn/ReyeiqX ​

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2018-07-26 13:59:46 | Explosion at the US Embassy in Beijing

2018-07-26 13:59:46 | 美国大使馆发生爆炸 ​

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2018-07-26 14:10:44 | An explosion outside the gate to the US Embassy [SURPRISE] [SURPRISE] It is said that there was someone self-immolating. How scary ……. http://t.cn/Rp7gR9V http://t.cn/ReUvEkR ​

2018-07-26 14:10:44 | 美国使馆门口爆炸了[吃惊][吃惊][吃惊]据说有人自焚,好吓人…… http://t.cn/Rp7gR9V http://t.cn/ReUvEkR ​

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2018-07-26 14:15:52 | Video from the scene of the US Embassy explosion [SAD], I hope this is not another Sarajevo Incident [NOTE: This refers to the assassination on June 28, 1914, of Archduke Franz Ferdinand] [MOURNING] http://t.cn/ReUhbKT ​

2018-07-26 14:15:52 | 美国大使馆爆炸现场视频[伤心],希这不是第二起萨拉热窝事件[衰] http://t.cn/ReUhbKT ​

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2018-07-26 14:17:04 | WeChat groups are swamped! [There is news of an] explosion in front of the US Embassy. http://t.cn/ReUhNU3 ​

2018-07-26 14:17:04 | 朋友圈刷屏了,美国大使馆前发生爆炸 http://t.cn/ReUhNU3 ​

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2018-07-26 14:18:21 | There’s been an explosion near the US Embassy. This is too scary! [MOURNING] http://t.cn/ReUhdsN ​

2018-07-26 14:18:21 | 美国大使馆附近爆炸了,这个也太恐怖了吧![衰] http://t.cn/ReUhdsN ​

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2018-07-26 14:22:12 | #suddenbreaking #according to @CGTN news, and explosion has occurred near the US Embassy in Beijing. An explosion was reported near the US Embassy in Beijing on Thursday, Reuters reported. ​

2018-07-26 14:22:12 | #突发#据@CGTN 消息,美国驻华大使馆附近疑似发生爆炸。An explosion was reported near the US Embassy in Beijing on Thursday, Reuters reported. ​

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2018-07-26 14:26:22 | News flash: Explosion occurs at the US Embassy. What a scene. So someone truly goes to the US Embassy to commit an act of terrorism. Beijing isn’t Beirut. http://t.cn/ReUZLkF ​

2018-07-26 14:26:22 | 快讯:美国大使馆发生爆炸 好热闹 真有人去美国大使馆搞恐怖袭击了 北京不是贝鲁特http://t.cn/ReUZLkF ​ ​

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2018-07-26 14:50:28 | 【News Brief】- US Embassy in Beijing: An explosion has occurred outside the US Embassy in Beijing, caused by one person with a bomb. Aside from this person with the bomb, so far no one else is injured.

2018-07-26 14:50:28 | 【快讯】- 美国驻华大使馆:位于北京的美国驻华大使馆外发生炸弹爆炸,一人引爆炸弹导致爆炸发生;除了引爆炸弹的此人之外,尚无其他人受伤。 ​

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2018-07-26 14:56:16 | 【Reports Say Explosion Happened Near US Embassy】- Many sources have reported that on Thursday an explosion occurred outside the US Embassy in Beijing. Video shared on social media shows emergency personnel on the scene and smoke everywhere. This area has many other embassies, including the Indian embassy. The incident happened around 1PM local time. According to reports from Reuters and the Associated Press and official Chinese media . . . [Full article]:  http://m.weibo.cn/1649159940/4266046372763082 ​

2018-07-26 14:56:16 | 【美国驻华大使馆附近据报发生爆炸】- 多个消息源报道称,周四在北京的美国驻华大使馆外发生了一起爆炸事件。社交媒体上的视频显示,现场有紧急救援人员,烟雾弥漫。该地区还有其他多个国家的驻华使馆,包括印度使馆。这起事件发生于当地时间下午1点左右。据路透社和美联社报道,中国官方媒体称,事发…全文: http://m.weibo.cn/1649159940/4266046372763082 ​

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2018-07-26 15:02:08 | @USEmbassyinChina What did you guys do? Who did you do wrong to? Did you go the wrong road when it came to that person who planned the bombing?  http://t.cn/ReUqcb1 ​

2018-07-26 15:02:08 | @美国驻华大使馆 你们那咋啦?得罪谁啦?搞爆炸的那人,你是不是走错路了? http://t.cn/ReUqcb1 ​

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