Zhengzhou has been under heavy attack for several days, apparently to chase out accumulated devils. These aren’t minor explosions, though I have been dodging small boys for a couple of weeks. The streets are cleared of the usual surging crowds and most shops were shuttered yesterday. Every rooftop and courtyard is smoking with cordite. The favourite seems to be a thing that is a metre long and about 2.5 cm in diameter. This ejects explosive devices at ten second intervals, and they travel for about 100 metres before shattering with a mighty boom. Basically, it is a mortar. Heaven knows what the casualty figures are. All the foreign devils except me have certainly been chased out of town.