Petitioner Suspected in Bomb Blasts

Three explosions targeting government buildings rock China's eastern city of Fuzhou.
2011-05-26
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fuzhoublast305.jpg
Three explosions struck government buildings in Fuzhou, in China's Jiangxi province.
AFP

Two people have died and six others are seriously injured after a disgruntled petitioner triggered a series of blasts outside government buildings in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangxi on Thursday, dying in the attack, according to official media.

The blasts rocked Fuzhou city in three different places between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. local time, damaging vehicles and smashing windows in government buildings, official media reported.

One blast went off near the city's procuratorate office, another near the government offices in the suspect's home district of Linchuan, and the third outside the district's food and drug administration, Xinhua news agency said.

"The blast took place in the car park, it seems," said a resident of Jiangxi's Fuzhou city, surnamed Guo, who went to the scene of one of the explosions, outside the Linchuan district government offices. "It tore through some cars and sent some security personnel flying."

"I got there late, and they had already sealed off the area, so I can't really say any more than that."

The blast blew away most of the window panes in the procuratorate office, an eight-story building, and a Volkswagen Santana was destroyed, Xinhua quoted eyewitnesses as saying.

They said the blast near the Linchuan district government went off in a car park less than 100 meters from the office building and destroyed at least 10 vehicles.

Media coverage

A resident surnamed You said he was near the Fuzhou procuratorate shortly after the explosion.

"At the time I had an errand near the procuratorate, and there were a lot of people gathered round there," You said.

"I guessed the blast had taken place there, or the windows wouldn't have all been smashed in that way."

Official news photos showed a damaged motorcycle and a courtyard strewn with debris outside the Linchuan government office building.

Photos posted on the microblog account of the official China News Service showed a white plume of smoke towering over crowds of onlookers.

The area was sealed off while police combed it for clues, reports said.

An official who answered the phone at the Fuzhou municipal government declined to comment. "You will have to watch what comes out in the media," the official said.

Suspect killed

The suspect of Thursday morning's serial explosions in east China's Jiangxi Province was confirmed dead in the blast, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing provincial police sources.

It said Qian Mingqi, a 52-year-old unemployed resident of Jiangxi's Fuzhou city, was killed where the blast took place, though it did not specify how. Another unidentified victim was also confirmed dead.

According to Xinhua, which releases approved government versions of major breaking news stories, Qian was suspected to have triggered the explosions.

Netizens linked to Qian's user account, @QianMinqi on the popular microblogging service Sina Weibo.

Qian's bio on the site appeared to point to the motivation for the blasts.

"My physical and mental health are completely normal," the user's bio read. "I haven't committed any crime to date, nor any illegal petitioning activities. My new, legally built, house was illegally demolished, causing me massive economic losses."

It appeared to give a sinister warning: "Ten years of effort has won me no redress, forcing me to take a path I do not wish to take," the profile said.

Sorting fact from rumor

A Fuzhou resident surnamed Rao said that the Linchuan government buildings looked as if they had been blown up.

"I have just come from there," she said. "It has all been sealed off ... and no one is allowed through ... within 300 meters of the scene."

An employee working near the same location said it was hard to sort fact from rumor.

"I reckoned it must be something to do with a civil lawsuit, because the procuratorate was also blown up," he said.

A health care worker who answered the phone at the Fuzhou No. 1 People's Hospital said it had treated two patients with relatively light injuries.

"We have had two patients here with light, external injuries," the health care worker said.

"One of them had injuries to the leg from the explosion."

Earlier this month, authorities in the remote western province of Gansu detained one man in connection with a homemade petrol bomb attack on a rural bank that injured nearly 50 people.

Police in Gansu's Tianzhu Tibetan Autonomous County arrested the man on suspicion of igniting a bottle of gasoline and throwing into his former workplace during a morning meeting, official media reported.

Reported by Ding Xiao for RFA's Mandarin service, and by Grace Kei Lai-see for the Cantonese service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.