SEVEN KILLED IN THREE CHINESE BOMB BLASTS


2003-09-22
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More than 30 injured in three separate attacks across China

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Seven people were killed and 31 injured in three separate explosions in Chinese cities, all of which are thought to have been pre-meditated bomb attacks, RFA reports.

The worst blast, in the central province of Hubei, killed four people--including a 12-year-old child--and injured 23 more, during a firefighting and rescue operation at a government building in Yichang, nearest city to the newly opened Three Gorges dam and hydroelectric plant.

The explosion occurred in the middle of the night after rescue workers struggled to contain a fire at a company belonging to the geological survey team.

"Suddenly an unidentified person threw some kind of explosive into the scene," the English-language China Daily newspaper quoted eyewitnesses as saying.

Not long after the explosion, a man identified as Liu Jianping committed suicide by self-immolation in a warehouse in the compound, it said.

Meanwhile, a blast in Baoji City in the northwestern province of Shaanxi killed at least three people and injured five, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The blast occurred when a metal box fell off a Jeep-like vehicle and exploded, Xinhua quoted a witness as saying. A woman died at the scene while two others died in hospital. The driver and four passers-by were injured.

And in the provincial capital of Hubei, three people were injured when a homemade bomb exploded in a Carrefour store.

The Wuhan Evening News quoted a victim as saying the bomb was wrapped in a piece of newspaper and blew up near a cashier in the Hanyang part of the Wuhan conurbation.

The French retailer Carrefour was the target of a series of bombings in three Chinese cities in late 2001, while the U.S.-owned Kentucky Fried Chicken was targeted in Xian, in the northern province of Shaanxi, earlier this year.

The Three Gorges project and the surrounding area has been subject to growing popular unrest over the relocation of millions of residents to make way for the reservoir the dam is creating.

However, previous bombings in China--where firearms are illegal but explosives easily obtainable--have often had personal motives, like jealousy or revenge behind them.

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