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‘Series of explosions’ in north China

Ananth Krishnan
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Blasts took place just outside party headquarters in Shanxi province

Smoke billows after explosions on Yingze Street in Taiyuan, capital of north China’s Shanxi Province, on Wednesday.— Photo: AP
Smoke billows after explosions on Yingze Street in Taiyuan, capital of north China’s Shanxi Province, on Wednesday.— Photo: AP

A number of self-made bombs containing steel beads were detonated outside the headquarters of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in the provincial capital of northern Shanxi on Wednesday morning, State media reported, with “a series of explosions” leaving at least one person killed and eight others injured.

The blasts took place during the morning rush-hour at 7.40 a.m., right in front of the headquarters of the Shanxi Provincial Committee — the top CPC agency that governs the province — in Taiyuan, the provincial capital.

The official Xinhua news agency reported that the bombs were suspected to be “self-made.”

Damage

detonations appeared to have taken place with the aim of inflicting the maximum possible damage: steel ball-bearings were found scattered around the scene of the blasts, which took place at a time when government offices were set to open for the day.

It remains as yet unclear how many bombs were detonated; Xinhua only said there appeared to be “a series of explosions,” citing witnesses. Initial reports suggested the bombs were buried in a flower-bed in front of the Party headquarters.

Photographs posted on Chinese social media websites showed plumes of smoke, scattered debris and an injured bystander lying on a street in front of the Party offices.

The bombs follow last week’s attack on Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing, when a car carrying three Uighurs from the Muslim-majority Xinjiang region drove into a crowd and burst into flames, leaving two tourists killed and 40 others injured.

The Tiananmen attack was blamed by Chinese authorities on the separatist East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a terror group that has, in the past, organised attacks in Xinjiang.

China has in recent years witnessed a number of attacks by aggrieved citizens on local government offices, often related to the loss of their land or miscarriages of justice.

Mass incidents

In an incident strikingly similar to Wednesday’s bombing in Shanxi, a farmer had in 2011 detonated three self-made bombs in front of Communist Party offices in Fuzhou, in southern Jiangxi province, leaving two persons killed and six others injured. The farmer had been petitioning authorities after having his home demolished illegally.

Chinese authorities report thousands of “mass incidents” at the local level every year, prompting many scholars here to call on authorities to overhaul the Party-controlled courts system.

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