Enforcers with Fire Extinguishers

Planning to set yourself on fire? The Chinese government is ready.


While the Chinese Communist Party meets in Beijing, firefighters are stationed in Tiananmen Square. This may seem unusual, Max Fisher writes in The Washington Post, "since they're standing in the middle of a giant open square, with nothing flammable anywhere nearby. Except, that is, for the other people in the square, which may be exactly what they're worried about. More specifically, the firefighters are likely there to put out any protesters who attempt to set themselves on fire."

They've had practice:

last November, a man walked into Tiananmen and lit himself on fire, but police were ready. According to tourists on the square, police pulled out fire extinguishers and put him out within 10 seconds. Within about a minute and a half, police bundled him into a car and drove him off.