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Rare series of bombings hits China government buildings

WUHAN, China — A jobless Chinese man who was angry at what he called the illegal demolition of his property reportedly set off bombs at three government offices Thursday in southern China in an outburst of violence that underscores the frustration that mars China's development push.

Starting just after 9 a.m., the explosions targeted a prosecutor's office, a government complex, and a food and drug administration office in a district of Fuzhou city in Jiangxi province.

The blasts killed the bomber and another person and wounded six. Windows were shattered, cars were destroyed and television footage showed at least one large mushroom cloud lingering on the horizon.

While revenge bombings by individuals happen with some regularity in China — homemade devices take the place of guns, which are tightly controlled — coordinated bombings targeting multiple government buildings are almost unheard-of.

The state-owned Xinhua news agency said the perpetrator was a farmer named Qian Mingqi who "was not satisfied about a (court) case."

In a text message sent at 12:59 a.m. Wednesday, Qian alerted a reporter for a southern Chinese newspaper to pay attention to the news from Fuzhou, according to an account on the website of Caijing, a Chinese news group known for investigative work.

"I want to get rid of those who harm the people," he said.

It was the latest on a series of dramatic protests over land seizures in China during the past several years, which reflect the sense of powerlessness villagers often feel when they lose their land and turn for help to officials and the courts. They soon find themselves stymied in dealing with the government or people made powerful by their connections with big business or the Chinese Communist Party, particularly in rural areas.

The central government has signaled that it's concerned about such cases spinning out of control, and their potential for civil unrest, though little has been done to address China's underlying problems with rule of law.

Last September, three members of a family protesting the demolition of their house in Jiangxi province set themselves on fire. After one of the trio, a 79-year-old man, died about a week later, the government said that eight Jiangxi officials had been removed from their posts or placed under investigation.

Thursday's bombings triggered an outpouring of postings criticizing the government on a blog page with Qian Mingqi's name on it. Some even likened him to Dong Cunrui, a Communist soldier who's celebrated today as a patriotic icon for blowing himself up while fighting nationalist troops in 1948. Tradition holds that Dong Cunrui yelled that his death was for "a new China," an act whose anniversary is observed this week.

On a different Web page that Chinese media identified as belonging to Qian Mingqi, Qian had written that he sued after his "legally built, new building was torn down illegally."

That process dragged on for about a decade with no result, Qian said. He added that: "this has forced me to take a path that I don't want to take."

In other notes on the site, Qian said that a group of homes, including his, was demolished in 2002 for the construction of a highway. He accused a local official of illegally arranging the destruction of the houses and then keeping more than $1.5 million in compensation money meant for the families.

In his text message to the reporter at the Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper, Qian repeated those accusations, Caijing reported.

He also reportedly wrote that he didn't want to be "the second Qian Yunhui," a former village leader in neighboring Zhejiang province who was found crushed to death under a truck tire last December after years of fighting a power plant project.

(Researcher Li Weiting contributed to this story.)


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