China's Guangxi Rocked by Another Blast After String of Parcel Bombs

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A Liucheng county neighborhood fills with smoke after an explosion, Guangxi, Oct. 1, 2015.
A Liucheng county neighborhood fills with smoke after an explosion, Guangxi, Oct. 1, 2015.
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As authorities in the southwestern Chinese region of Guangxi scrambled on Thursday, China's National Day, to deal with the aftermath of 17 parcel-bomb explosions that went off the day before, a township in the area was rocked by an 18th blast, residents said.

There was a huge bang here that went off at 8.10 a.m.," an employee at a guesthouse 200 meters from the blast in Guangxi's Dapu township told RFA.

"We were lucky not to get injured when we went out to look; a lot of people got hurt yesterday," the employee said.

"Today's blast was in the Fuyuan residential compound, and it was pretty frightening."

Photos of the aftermath posted online showed a six-story building partially collapsed and surrounded by bricks, glass, and other debris.

Other photos showed overturned cars, victims bandaged and laid on makeshift stretchers, and plumes of grey smoke rising above buildings, but it was unclear whether the images were linked to Thursday's blast or earlier explosions.

Police quickly set up a security cordon around the new blast site. "When we went to look ... we couldn't get close," the guesthouse employee said.

"[It was] near building No. 5 of the compound, and exploded outwards from a balcony."

No comment from police

The blast came after 17 parcel bombs killed at least seven people and wounded scores more on Wednesday.

An officer who answered the phone at the police department in Liucheng county, of which Dapu is the county town, declined to comment.

"Sorry, but we are under orders not to give any media interviews," the officer said. "You will have to rely on official news sources for the details."

Police issued a statement on Wednesday that they had ruled out a "terrorist act" in the explosions and are treating them as the subject of a criminal investigation.

Wednesday's blasts, which came from bombs hidden in express packages, ripped through 13 different locations, including a prison, a government office, a train station, a hospital, and a shopping mall.

In addition to those killed, 51 people were injured, while two were still unaccounted for late on Wednesday, police said.

Police, who have arrested a 33-year-old man in connection with the blasts, are warning the public not to accept packages from unverified sources, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

They say he may have worked with others to deliver the bombs.

'Illusion of stability'

Li Jianghan, a rights activist based in the Guangxi city of Liuzhou, hit out at the government's tight control over media reporting of the incident.

"I suspect that the government has moved so fast to arrest somebody just to maintain the illusion of calm and stability," Li said. "But in reality they are going to be creating instability."

"They should do the responsible thing and make the actual situation public, rather than just trying to calm public fears," he said.

While Beijing has recently launched an "anti-terrorism" campaign after a string of violent incidents linked to the troubled northwestern region of Xinjiang, previous blasts in public places have also been the result of deep social tensions, personal grievances, and disgruntled petitioners.

In April 2014, authorities in the northern city of Taiyuan executed a man after finding him guilty of setting off several deadly blasts near a provincial ruling Chinese Communist Party headquarters in November 2013 that killed at least one person.

And in October 2013, authorities in Beijing handed down a six-year jail term to a disabled man who set off an explosion at the city's international airport, sparking anger over what many said was an unjust sentence.

But several Chinese cities have been hit in recent years with explosions that the police have blamed on the mostly Muslim Uyghur ethnic group, including a 2013 jeep explosion and fire in Tiananmen Square that left two bystanders dead.

Reported by Yang Fan for RFA's Mandarin Service, and by Wen Yuqing for the Cantonese Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.





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