BEIJING - In one of the most sophisticated bombing attacks in China in recent years, seven improvised explosive devices detonated almost simultaneously Wednesday near the Communist Party headquarters in the provincial city of Taiyuan.
Initial reports said one person was dead and at least eight others injured, one critically.
The bombs went off at 7.40 a.m., as government employees were streaming in to work, and scattered metal pellets and ball bearings through the crowds.
The bombings come on the heels of last week’s attack at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in which a sports utility vehicle plowed through a crowded sidewalk and then was set on fire by its occupants, three ethnic Uighurs from western China. That attack left five dead and raised fears that China was being targeted in a new wave of Islamic terrorism.
A reporter for a Hong Kong-based newspaper reported on her microblog account that the explosions were “initially suspected of being a terror attack,” but there was no indication as to who the suspects might be or their ethnicity.
Explosions at government buildings in China are relatively rare, but not unprecedented.
In July, a man in a wheelchair set off a homemade explosive at Beijing’s airport to bring attention to a beating by security guards that had left him disabled. In both cases, the bombers were Han Chinese, the majority. In 2011, unemployed 52-year-old farmer Qing Mingqi blew himself up and killed two others with consecutive explosions near government buildings in Fuzhou to protest the confiscation of his land.
On Wednesday, some Chinese were expressing admiration for the bombings in Taiyuan.
“It was a targeted attack on the Communist mafia. This should not be considered terrorism. The guy should be considered a national hero,” wrote an activist, calling himself Jian Alan Huang, on a microblog site.
Taiyuan is 250 miles southwest of Beijing and is the capital of a province known for its coal mining.