BEIJING: Chinese police on Friday detained a local thief over deadly blasts that struck near a provincial Communist Party headquarters, just over a week after a fiery attack in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square that was blamed on Uighur separatists.
The man’s capture, reported by state media, comes one day ahead of a highly anticipated meeting of top party leaders in Beijing.
While a potential motive remained unclear, details of the attack suggest anger at the local government could have been behind the bombings.
Protests in China—on a host of issues including local corruption, land seizures, environmental policy, and labor rights—are estimated to top 180,000 a year, even as the government devotes vast sums to “stability maintenance.”
The apprehended suspect was named as Feng Zhijun, a 41-year-old ex-convict and resident of the city of Taiyuan where the explosions took place, the state-run Xinhua news agency said, citing Shanxi province’s Public Security Department.
Feng was captured at 2 a.m. on Friday and has admitted to the blasts, Xinhua said, which killed one person and wounded eight others Wednesday morning near the party provincial commission in Taiyuan.
Feng previously served nine years in prison for theft, the news agency said.
Police found a “large amount of evidence,” including self-made bombs in Feng’s car and home in Taiyuan’s Xinghualing district, Xinhua said.
Large metal ball bearings and circuit boards were found at the scene of the multiple blasts on Wednesday morning, suggesting the use of home-made devices intended to inflict maximum damage.
The explosions came a little over a week after a fiery attack in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square that killed three tourists and wounded dozens at the symbolic heart of the Chinese state.
Beijing described the Tianan-men incident as a “terror attack” carried out by members of the Uighur minority from northwest Xinjiang with links to a separatist group called the East Turkestan Islamic Movement.