Although the Second Sino-Japanese War (the “War”) ended many decades ago, hostilities between China and Japan are still raw in the memory of many Chinese people, even though most of them did not directly experience the War. In particular, the Great Bombing of Chongqing—the indiscriminate, sustained bombing of the Nationalist provisional capital by Japanese warplanes from 1938 to 1943—has been retrieved from the archives as a significant event. Subsumed under the narrative of the Great Bombing, Chongqing's Great Tunnel Disaster (the “Disaster”), following a prolonged Japanese air raid on June 5, 1941, resulted in some of Nationalist China's heaviest civilian casualties. This article discusses the Disaster in detail, suggesting that at the time, it was viewed more as a human-induced “stampede” than as a Japanese “war atrocity” when the Chinese public took to the press and condemned the Nationalist government for its inability to prevent, manage, and mitigate the Disaster's effects. Chinese civilians were attempting to renew and revise a traditional social contract of disaster, according to which the state was responsible for providing adequate relief to victims, by accusing the Nationalist government of callousness, incompetence, and negligence.