A series of bombs packed with ball bearings exploded outside the provincial headquarters of the Chinese Communist Party in Taiyuan, China, yesterday, killing at least one person and injuring eight others days after a fiery attack in Tiananmen Square.
Police and state media gave no possible motive for the blasts in Taiyuan, capital of the northern province of Shanxi. State media said the blasts were caused by homemade bombs.
The explosions came during heightened security following a suicide car crash at Tiananmen Gate in Beijing that killed the car’s three occupants and two bystanders in what officials called an act of terrorism committed by Muslim militants from western China.
However, yesterday’s blasts were reminiscent of the kind of revenge attacks occasionally launched by disgruntled citizens in China. Assailants angered at perceived injustices have blown up buses, stabbed officials and attacked schools.
The Shanxi Provincial Government and police said the blasts occurred at about 7:40am. Xinhua news agency cited unidentified police sources as describing the explosives as improvised bombs, although police spokesmen declined to confirm that.
One of the injured was listed in serious condition, and a bus and several other vehicles had their windows blown out or suffered other damage.
A street cleaner interviewed on state television said the explosives were planted in flower beds in two separate locations and that eight blasts were heard in all.
Footage showed the blast scene littered with nails and steel balls of various sizes, apparently packed into the bombs to cause maximum damage and injury. Blood stains were visible on the sidewalk and on the door of a damaged sports utility vehicle.
Xinhua quoted a witness as saying smoke and flames were seen pouring from a minivan.
Police closed off the broad street in front of the party headquarters, and fire trucks, ambulances and police vehicles were parked in the area. State media showed a man lying on the ground, apparently dead.
The street where yesterday’s explosions happened was the scene of a protest by about 200 laid-off workers last week, according to microblog postings.
Following the Tiananmen attack, authorities moved quickly to clamp down on online discussion of the incident, deleting photographs and comments on social networks.
However, the Chinese Internet was abuzz with dispatches and photos of the Taiyuan explosions yesterday and “Shanxi provincial commission” was the sixth-most popular search term on the Sina Weibo microblogging site in the afternoon.