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Blasts kill one near Communist Party offices in China

By Kevin Wang, CNN
updated 7:05 AM EST, Wed November 6, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The explosions took place in front of the gate of provincial Communist Party offices
  • They went off in flower bushes by the gate of the offices, state media report
  • The blasts shattered the windows of passing vehicles
  • They occurred in Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi province

(CNN) -- A series of explosions in front of Communist Party offices in a northern Chinese province killed one person and wounded eight others Wednesday morning, authorities said.

The blasts occurred in Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi province, police said in a post on Weibo, a Twitter-like microblog platform.

State broadcaster CCTV reported on its Weibo account that several devices exploded in flower bushes in front of the gate of the Shanxi Provincial Communist Party offices. The Communist Party has ruled China for more than 60 years.

The blasts shattered the windows of nearby vehicles and shredded some of their tires, CCTV reported.

Footage from the scene showed cars with smashed windows and smoke rising in central Taiyuan.

State-run news agency Xinhua reported that steel beads were scattered at the scene, suggesting the explosive devices were homemade.

Police halted traffic for several hours on roads near the scene of the explosions.

At least one of the wounded people is severely hurt, CCTV said, adding that the exact number of casualties remained unclear.

Authorities are still investigating the cause of the blasts, which occurred days before a major Communist Party leadership meeting is set to start in Beijing this weekend.

Heightened security

Security concerns are already heightened in China following a deadly attack in Beijing's Tiananmen Square last week in which a vehicle drove into a crowd of people, crashed into a footbridge and burst into flames.

Chinese authorities have blamed Uyghurs from the western region of Xinjiang for that attack, which killed five people -- including the three in the vehicle -- and wounded 40 others in the heavily policed heart of the Chinese capital.

A top Chinese security official said last week that a murky Islamic separatist group had instigated the attack.

But there were no initial suggestions Wednesday that the blasts in Taiyuan were related to the Tiananmen attack.

Acts of violence, sometimes using rudimentary explosive devices or gasoline, take place from time to time in China. The culprits, according to authorities, are often local residents with personal grievances.

In May 2011, a series of explosions hit government facilities in the eastern Chinese city of Fuzhou. The blasts killed three people, including an unemployed local man who authorities said was suspected of setting off the bombs.

Earlier that month, a disgruntled former employee threw an ignited bottle of gasoline into a bank in a rural area of Gansu province. Authorities said the man had carried out the attack, which wounded 49 people, in retaliation for being fired.

In July 2010, a disgruntled businessman set off a homemade bomb at a local tax bureau in Hunan province in southern China, killing four people and wounding 20 others.

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