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Extraordinary response to airport wheelchair bomb blast

July 25, 2013 Airport, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59A man in a wheelchair who set off a bomb at Beijing’s international airport last weekend has triggered the most extraordinary public response.

Instead of condemnation, there has been an outpouring of sympathy for the bomber – even copycat actions.

The wheelchair bomber, identified as Ji Zhongxing from Shandong province, aged 34, ignited a small home-made explosive device (apparently made of powder from fireworks) but hurt only himself. He is now being treated for injuries, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency said.

YouTube footage of the bomb exploding as police confront the man can be viewed here:

The explosion, at the airport’s Terminal 3 at the weekend, caused momentary panic.

According to Chinese news and social media sites, a blog written by the bomber showed that he once worked as a motorcycle taxi driver in the southern Chinese city of Dongguan. He claims to have been severely beaten by police in 2005, so badly that he now has to use a wheelchair.

The man set off the device after police tried to prevent him from distributing leaflets, Xinhua said.

The man’s complaints of corruption and police harassment appear to have struck a nerve. Messages of support have been posted online on Chinese social media sites.

The Beijing News noted that the blast was an apparent attempt to draw attention to his case without harming anyone else.

Reports said the man had grown frustrated with China’s “petitioning” system, which allows citizens to file complaints directly with government departments.

The South China Morning Post reported several incidents of violence in Beijing following the man’s airport action.

Just four hours after the airport device went off, a 39-year-old man from Beijing’s Miyun county threatened to set off explosives at a Beijing airport to protest against land seizures. An hour later, a 31-year-old man from Jiangsu province threatened to detonate explosives at a video arcade. Police arrested both men.

On Monday, a man armed with a knife went on a rampage at a Carrefour shopping centre in Beijing’s western district, wounding four people.

Shortly afterwards, police carried out a series of raids throughout the capital, which led to the seizure of 327 pistols, 631 fake pistols, more than 12,000 rounds of ammunition, 61 crossbows and 1123 knives, Beijing News reported.

Written by : Peter Needham

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