Explosion rocks Beijing park
Blast near offices of China's top leaders
May 13, 1997
Web posted at: 12:13 p.m. EDT (1613 GMT)
In this story:
BEIJING (CNN) -- An explosion caused by a homemade bomb
rocked a park near Beijing's Forbidden City and the offices
of China's top leaders Tuesday, killing one person, Chinese
Residents living on the leafy streets near Zhongshan Park
said a bomb exploded underneath a park bench at around 5 p.m.
Police declined to say whether the blast -- the third in
China's capital since March -- was caused by a bomb or
whether there were any casualties. But Chinese sources said
at least one person was killed in the explosion and that it
was apparently caused by a homemade bomb.
The explosion came a day after a bus explosion in south China
killed five people and injured five others -- an attack
police say was the work of suicide bombers.
Some residents near Zhongshan Park told the French news
agency AFP that a suicide bomber was also responsible for the
Beijing attack. But there was no immediate confirmation of
that from any official source.
The park is located beside the Forbidden City, which was home
to China's emperors. It is just across a narrow street from
Zhongnanhai, a former imperial pleasure garden that now
houses offices for senior Communist Party and government
After the explosion, police blocked vehicles from using
streets leading to the park for several hours, and soldiers
at the park's west gate prevented people from entering. At
twilight, five or six men could be seen inside the park,
scrubbing and hosing down the area around a bench.
Officials at three hospitals said they had not received any
An official at a police station in the park was tight-lipped
about what had happened.
"We will report the details to the public when we are
ready," she said. "I can make no further comment."
Security has been tight in Beijing since a bomb exploded on a
rush-hour bus March 7, injuring eight people. China's
state-controlled media said no one died but several people
were wounded in that attack. Police have offered a reward but
made no arrests.
Beijing was rocked by at least one other bombing in March,
but no casualties were reported.
After the March bus attack, suspicion initially fell on
separatist groups fighting for independence for Xinjiang,
China's northwestern region dominated by Turkic-speaking
Muslims. In February, nine people were killed and 74 injured
in three bus bombings in Xinjiang's regional capital,
However, Beijing officials have discounted any link between
the March bombing and the Xinjiang incidents. Rumors have
also circulated that workers upset with being laid off from
state-run factories have claimed responsibility.
In south China Monday, a bus heading for Shunde city in
Guangdong province was hit by an explosion that blew off the
rear of the vehicle, according to a report from the China
News Service in Hong Kong.
Four people were killed instantly, and another died on the
way to the hospital. Five others were injured.
Police said the explosion was caused by a young couple who
were among those killed.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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