39 Chinese migrants dying inside a refrigerated truck container near London is making headlines across the globe at the moment, it remains to be seen if the horrific tragedy will make front pages in China on Friday morning.hile news of
As CNN reporter David Culver was discussing how China was blocking the network’s coverage of the deaths on Thursday night, CNN went off-air in China again, according to fellow reporter Hadas Gold. China often blacks out specific news segments it finds objectionable from foreign broadcasts in the country.
As David was reporting this, the censors took CNN off air.
— Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) October 24, 2019
Meanwhile, reports on the incident are essentially nonexistent on the front pages of Chinese state media news websites in both English and Chinese.
The one place where the deaths have received attention, however, is on Chinese social media. A hashtag concerning the news was one of the top trending topics on Weibo on Thursday with a whopping 300 million views.
One Weibo post from CCTV has tens of thousands of comments and censors do not appear to be curtailing discussion at this time.
Many details about the case remain unknown at this time. Police said that the trailer arrived in the English county of Essex from a port in Belgium just after midnight on Wednesday. A lorry from Northern Ireland soon took it away.
Ambulance workers were then called to a nearby industrial park at around 1:30 am where they discovered the bodies of 39 people (31 men and eight women) inside the trailer. A 25-year-old truck driver named Mo Robinson has been arrested and is being questioned on suspicion of murder.
Police are carrying out raids in Northern Ireland, looking into possible organized crime connections. The trailer itself is registered in Bulgaria, though it apparently hasn’t returned to that country in several years.
China’s foreign ministry has confirmed police reports that all those dead in the back of the truck were Chinese nationals.
The tragedy brings to mind a similar one in the English port town of Dover in 2000 when 58 Chinese migrants were discovered dead inside a Dutch lorry after spending more than 18 hours trapped inside the container while coming over from Belgium.
In that case, the lorry driver was sentenced to 14 years in prison for his part in the people smuggling operation that was coordinated by a Chinese gang. Nine Chinese gang members were also jailed in the Netherlands over the incident.