U.S. man hurt in Beijing blast, cause unclear: report

BEIJING Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:59am EDT

1 of 4. Policemen investigate an explosion which occurred near a subway station in downtown Beijing October 21, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

BEIJING (Reuters) - An American man was injured in a small explosion near a busy underground station in the Chinese capital Thursday, police told the official Xinhua news agency.

Police were still investigating the cause of the blast, which occurred in the afternoon near a newsstand near Dongzhimen station, close to many embassies, the report said.

"Police said a 30-year-old American studying in China, who happened to pass by, was slightly injured in the leg and had been rushed to a nearby hospital," said Xinhua.

Although there was nothing firm to suggest the blast was deliberate or aimed at the U.S. national, China is jittery about any suggestion of unrest, especially in the capital.

Police cordoned off an area about the size of a tennis court where the blast took place and searched a hedge, while hundreds of residents milled around.

Such incidents are rare in Beijing.

In other parts of the country, disgruntled residents have set off explosions in buses and buildings. There have also been militant attacks in the far western region of Xinjiang, where members of the Muslim Uighur minority chafe at Chinese controls.

During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, a U.S. tourist was stabbed to death. But attacks on foreigners in the city are very rare.

(Reporting by Chris Buckley and David Gray; Editing by Ron Popeski)

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