Thailand blast rocks nation’s peaceful surface

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-8-18 1:08:02

A massive explosion occurred in a popular tourist landmark in central Bangkok's Erawan Shrine yesterday evening, killing at least 18 people and injuring more than 100. According to a deputy police spokesperson, there were at least two bombs at the blast site, which were hidden around the shrine. One exploded, and the police have defused the other. Other reports say that as there were motorcycle remnants, the bomb could have been placed on a vehicle.

The details of the bombings may lead people to suppose that the blast was a "terror attack," although Thai police had not described it as such as of press time, and no organization has claimed responsibility.

Reportedly, at least two Chinese nationals have been killed and 15 injured. 

If the blast is proven to be a terrorist attack, it will deal a heavy blow to Thailand's tourism industry.

Thailand is one of the destinations that Chinese tourists favor. During the first six months of this year, the number of Chinese tourists to Thailand topped 6 million, double the number in the same period of last year. Thailand has replaced South Korea as the No. 1 tourism choice for Chinese, and they are also the largest source of tourists to Thailand.

To our knowledge, Thailand, a Buddhist country, has a moderate population. Even though the country has had periodic coups, there is rarely bloodshed.

Many Chinese are aware of political wrangles surrounding former prime minister Thaksin Shinwatra and turbulence in southern Thailand, however these seem to be irrelevant to Thailand's friendly tourism environment in their eyes.

It is beyond the imagination of Chinese people that a blast could happen at the famous Erawan Shrine. It has almost the same impact on Chinese tourists as if it happened in China.

Whatever the exact number of Chinese casualties, we feel that Chinese tourists are facing the highest level of danger. If the blast is defined as an act of terrorism, it will strike a huge blow to its tourism industry above all else. The people who manifested this terror attack in a place like Erawan Shrine are obviously aiming at the country's tourism sector.

The severe explosion means people will have to examine what lies under the nation's peaceful surface, and start to give attention to its political environment and social governance. After the Yingluck administration was ousted in May 2014, Thailand came under military rule. Its mainstream society was torn apart, and the wound has never been fully healed.

Thailand is a good friend of China. The explosion in the center of its capital will not only threaten the safety of Chinese tourists, but also made us feel deep regret for our friends.

We hope that Thailand and its tourism industry can survive the blast, and that all the Chinese tourists currently in Thailand are safe.

Posted in: Observer

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