Chinese netisens have once again been hyping a possible outbreak of war with Taiwan after an emergency drill for a blackout took place in Fujian Province on Tuesday (November 30).
The drill was staged to simulate a large-scale outage caused by a typhoon or “external damage,” according to a South China Morning Post report. The provincial government issued a level-two emergency response and practiced rescuing the grid due to outages on offshore islands as well as trialing responses to terrorist or cyber attacks.
Weibo soon blew up with frantic speculation over whether the blackouts were linked to an impending war with Taiwan. Fujian Province is the nearest Chinese province to Taiwan and lies just on the other side of the Taiwan Strait.
“We must stay alert to the possibility that our power facilities will be targeted amid Taiwan retaliations or US intervention,” one netisen wrote in a serious tone.
Others joked the simulation was needed to prevent both “Taifengs,” playing upon the homophonic Mandarin words for “typhoons” and “crazy Taiwanese”.
“Don’t be nervous… this is mainly for ‘Taifengs!’” wrote one user.
By Wednesday night, one hashtag about the drill had generated upwards of 3 million views and at least 1,200 comments.
The news comes just one month after an order to stockpile food by Chinese authorities resulted in widespread rumours that war with Taiwan was imminent. In that instance, state media had to issue reports urging the public to calm down and not misinterpret the message.
Scenes of Chinese panic buying at the time were later shared on a video by YouTube channel China Uncensored.