August 11, 2003

BIG WMD DISCOVERY — IN CHINA?

An accident in China involving chemical weapons allegedly left behind by Japanese troops in World War II has left at least 36 people ill. Metal drums containing what is thought to be mustard gas were found on a construction site in the city of Qiqihar in Heilongjiang province.

Most of the injured are construction workers and people who came into contact with the drums after they had been unwittingly opened.

Obviously the Chinese don’t have enough people on the ground. . . Reader Rob Hinkley emails:

The lessons?

[1] Things can stay hidden for a long long time.
[2] Just because a chemical weapons program may have closed down years ago doesn’t mean that barrels of product weren’t stashed away for use.

Indeed.

UPDATE: Bryan Preston has more thoughts.

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