Fri, May 27, 2011 - Page 5 News List

Two dead as three blasts rock Fuzhou

‘SUDDEN INCIDENTS’:Jiangxi is home to mines and fireworks firms, and disgruntled or mentally unstable citizens have set off explosions before

Reuters, BEIJING

Blasts at three sites near government buildings in an eastern Chinese city killed two people and injured six yesterday, state media reported.

The cause of the blasts several minutes apart in Fuzhou, Jiangxi Province, was being investigated, Xinhua news agency said, but it cited a source at the provincial government as saying a disgruntled farmer was most likely to blame and was still at large.

The blasts shook the prosecutor’s office, a district-level government office and the district food and drug administration, damaging 10 vehicles, Xinhua said. Most of the windows in the eight-story prosecutor’s office were shattered after the explosion less than 100m away, it added.

Villager Zhang Weizhang also said it was possible a disgruntled local resident was to blame.

“There are plenty of people complaining about the government. They ignore complaints. They’ve ignored mine,” said Zhang, who said he was in a dispute over forestry rights in Fuzhou’s Linchuan district. “But nobody ordinary would do something like this. This isn’t normal for here.”

The Fuzhou government did not answer calls seeking comment.

This Fuzhou is not the same city as the provincial capital of the neighboring province of Fujian, which is spelled the same in English, but written with different Chinese characters.

Jiangxi Province is home to many mines, which use explosives, and fireworks manufacturers. In past years, disgruntled or mentally unstable citizens have set off explosions near buildings or on buses.

Such “sudden incidents,” as Beijing refers to them, underscore broader government worries about stability in the world’s second-largest economy, with a widening gap between rich and poor, and growing anger at corruption and environmental issues.

Earlier this month, a petrol bomb set off by a disgruntled former employee at a rural bank in a heavily Tibetan region of Gansu Province wounded 49 people.

In 2001, a string of explosions at workers’ dormitories in the northern city of Shijiazhuang killed 108 people.

Chinese farmers have been at the center of many incidents of unrest and protest, with anger frequently focused on land grabs to make way for infrastructure projects or commercial buildings.

Last year, three people set themselves on fire in a Jiangxi county, not far from Fuzhou, to try to stop officials forcing them out of their homes to make way for a bus station.

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