Twitter users have speculated that the onslaught of a sudden thunderstorm in Beijing on Thursday night was linked to the death of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.
A barrage of lightning bolts and heavy rain were caught on video and shared on WeChat and Twitter.
The insane lightning storm raging over Beijing tonight seems like it has some extra meaning.
— Nathan VanderKlippe (@nvanderklippe) July 13, 2017
Another user asked: “Why is Beijing being ravaged by lightning and rain tonight? Only heaven knows the answer!” In the same tweet, the user included pictures of Liu’s wife and the 2010 Nobel prize that Liu was unable to accept while he was in Chinese custody.
— 刘军宁 (@liujunning) July 13, 2017
— Beijing Cream (@beijingcream) July 13, 2017
According to one user, Anthony Tao, the storm came unexpectedly after a day of blue skies and good weather.
— RF Parsley (@sanverde) July 14, 2017
There was also a storm in Chengdu on Thursday evening. “Heaven and earth are mourning together; men and gods alike are fuming,” said one Twitter user who posted footage of the storm from state tabloid the Global Times.
— 麒哥? (@14z3R) July 13, 2017
Liu died of multiple organ failure on Thursday following a battle with liver cancer. Previously, human rights groups had decried the Chinese government’s refusal to let him seek treatment abroad.
In Hong Kong, hundreds of activists, pro-democracy lawmakers, and members of the public attended a vigil outside Beijing’s office once the news of Liu’s passing was reported.
Liu was arrested in 2008 after co-writing Charter 08, a bold petition that called for the protection of basic human rights and reform of China’s political system. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2009 for “subversion”.
Correction 14:30: This article previously suggested that a Twitter user posted a Global Times video of the storm in Beijing. In fact, the video was taken in Chengdu.