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Wheelchair Beijing airport bomber wanted to flag 'unjust treatment'

By Madison Park and Katie Hunt, CNN
updated 9:03 AM EDT, Mon July 22, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A man in a wheelchair detonates a homemade explosive at Beijing airport
  • The man suffered minor injuries, but no one else was injured
  • Man was airing grievances related to an alleged beating in 2005
  • Authorities said they would look into "alleged unjust treatment"

Hong Kong (CNN) -- A wheelchair-bound man who set off a homemade explosive inside Beijing Capital International Airport over the weekend was a petitioner airing grievances, Chinese state media reported.

The man, identified as 34-year-old Ji Zhongxing, was hospitalized after suffering injuries to his arm, which were not considered life threatening, state-run news agency Xinhua said.

The agency said Ji set off the explosive at the airport's Terminal 3 on Saturday evening after he was stopped from handing out leaflets "to get attention to his complaints" outside the arrival hall. He then warned people nearby to get away before setting off the device.

No other people were injured and flights at the airport were not affected.

Explosives set off in Beijing airport

The man from Heze city, in Shandong province, said on his personal blog in September 2006 that he had been attacked and beaten by security guards outside a police station in 2005 after carrying a passenger on his motorcycle. He was paralyzed after the incident and petitioned for official compensation.

The attack took place while Ji was working in Dongguan, a factory town in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong. Guangdong provincial authorities said on Sunday that they would look into the alleged unjust treatment, The China Daily reported.

However, the newspaper also reported that Dongguan police said Ji was not attacked and was instead injured when he fell off his motorcycle.

Police in Ji's home county said Dongguan authorities gave him 100,000 yuan (US$16,290) in compensation in 2010.

His family did not know about the bomb plot, Xinhua reported.

A witness to the explosion told the Beijing Youth Daily that Ji did not throw the bomb after activating it but held it in his hands. Photos posted on the Chinese social media site Sina Weibo showed a man in a peach shirt holding aloft a white device. Subsequent images showed thick smoke billowing through the terminal.

Authorities say the device was similar to fireworks, Xinhua reported.

The man's plight attracted some sympathy online. One user of the Twitter-like Weibo with the user name @Daidaibell said: "He would only do it because they cornered him. If there's other way, he wouldn't go to such an extreme."

In China, people often petition local and national authorities about their grievances.

In previous cases, frustrated petitioners have taken violent action. One man, Yang Jia, had tried to file a complaint about his treatment by police.

In 2008, he stormed a Shanghai police station and killed six police officers. He was executed later that year.

CNN's Zhang Dayu, Feng Ke and Steven Jiang contributed to this report from Beijing.

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