A Chinese man in a wheelchair who detonated a homemade explosive device in Beijing's international airport Saturday had just been stopped from handing out leaflets drawing attention to his long-running complaint about an incident that left him paralyzed, state media reported.
The state-run Xinhua news agency said Sunday that Ji Zhongxing was being treated for arm injuries after detonating a device made from fireworks in the arrivals hall of the airport's Terminal 3 at 6:24 p.m. local time Saturday. It said there were no other casualties and normal operations at the airport had been restored.
Xinhua said a police investigation showed that Mr. Ji, who is 34 years old and from the eastern province of Shandong, had once worked in the southern province of Guangdong and had been petitioning for several years over alleged unjust treatment that resulted in his paralysis.
Xinhua didn't give further details, but some Chinese news and social media sites posted what they said was a blog written by Mr. Ji, in which he said he formerly worked as a motorcycle driver ferrying passengers in the southern Chinese city of Dongguan and was severely beaten by police staff in 2005, leaving him paralyzed.
It wasn't possible to verify the contents of the blog and there was no response to telephone calls to a person identified in it as Mr. Ji's lawyer. Dongguan police declined to comment.
Chinese citizens are technically permitted to seek redress for mistreatment at the hands of government officials by petitioning higher-level authorities, but they often are frustrated in their efforts. Many victims of alleged abuses by local government officials travel to Beijing to petition national authorities but are detained in informal facilities known as black jails and taken back home by officials from their own regions.
In recent years, many people have staged protests, some of which have been violent, after failing to achieve redress through the petitioning system. Last month, an unemployed man who had been a petitioner killed 47 people by setting fire to a bus in the coastal city of Xiamen, state media reported.
Witnesses to the explosion in Beijing airport described hearing a loud bang and then seeing a cloud of smoke and dust fill part of the building as bystanders scattered. Photographs posted on popular Twitter-like microblogging sites showed a man in a wheelchair shouting and holding a white object over his head shortly before the blast.
Other pictures posted on microblogs showed the empty wheelchair lying on its side as police cleared bystanders from the area and medical staff attended to Mr. Ji.
Mr. Ji had warned passengers in the airport to keep their distance before detonating the device, the state-run Beijing News newspaper reported. It said one of his hands had to be amputated because of his injuries.
Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, Northeast Asia director for the think tank International Crisis Group, said she didn't see the blast but heard it as she passed through the terminal and saw the cloud of dust and smoke filling the area.
'It was a huge boom. The explosion itself was deafening,' she said. 'Then there was immediately a lot of dust and smoke. The police were clearing everyone away. They were clearly very panicked.'
国际危机组织(International Crisis Group)东北亚项目负责人克莱恩-阿尔布兰特(Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt)说，她经过T3航站楼时没有看到爆炸场面，但听到了爆炸声，并看到现场弥漫着烟雾。
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