BEIJING (Reuters) - Coordinated explosions at three sites near government buildings in eastern China killed two people Thursday and were set off by a man apparently angry about the illegal demolition of his home, state media reported.
The near-simultaneous explosions several minutes’ drive apart in Fuzhou city, Jiangxi province, also injured 10 people, the official Xinhua news agency said.
One of those killed was the person suspected of setting off the blasts, identified by Xinhua as Qian Mingqi, a 52-year-old unemployed resident of Fuzhou’s Linchuan district.
The news agency, citing a source with the Linchuan district government, said Qian was involved in a house demolition dispute, “triggering suspicions that he might’ve set off the explosions as a form of revenge against the local government.”
The blasts shook the prosecutor’s office, a district-level government office and the district food and drug administration, and damaged at least 10 vehicles, Xinhua said.
Most of the windows in the eight-storey prosecutor’s office were shattered after the explosion less than 100 meters away, it added.
“The illegal demolition of my legally, newly built home has caused me huge losses, and 10 years of failed appeals have forced me to take this path,” Qian said on his microblog, according to Caijing magazine’s website (www.caijing.com.cn).
“Going to heaven, I would have to take a few enemies with me,” Qian wrote in his microblog, on which he said he had been petitioning authorities on the illegal demolition since 2002.
Property disputes in a country where the government legally owns all land have led to unruly protests, fights with police, imprisonment and even suicide, and created a major headache for the stability-obsessed ruling Communist Party.
“There are plenty of people complaining about the government,” Fuzhou resident Zhang Weizhang told Reuters by telephone.
“They ignore complaints. They’ve ignored mine,” added 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.
Fuzhou’s Communist Party boss, Gan Liangmiao, told officials in October that they must “firmly establish the idea that stability comes before all else and stability comes higher than anything else,” the Fuzhou Daily said at the time.
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 firework manufacturers.
Such “sudden incidents,” as China 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.
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.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard, Chris Buckley and Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Robert Birsel