China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported that a Chinese man set off the device outside the arrivals exit of Terminal 3 around 6:24 p.m. local time Saturday.
“The explosion sound was loud,” said a witness who gave only his family name, Chen, according to the Associated Press. He said he was only 27 yards away from the explosion when it occurred.
Chen said there was only one explosion, and that the terminal was crowded with people. “Since there was no second explosion, many people took out their phones and gathered near the explosion spot to take photos,” he said.
State-run China Central Television (CCTV) said on its microblog that the man in the wheelchair was injured and sent to a hospital after setting off the bomb. It reported no one else was injured, no flights were affected and order was quickly restored at the airport.
State media identified the man as Ji Zhongxing, born in 1979, from Heze in the eastern Shandong province.
Although the motive behind the blast was not immediately clear, Xinhau reported the man was stopped from handing out leaflets before the bomb went off. Police would not immediately disclose the content of the fliers.
In a blog post that has since been deleted, a writer with the same name as Ji said he was beaten in 2005 by security personnel in Dongguan, a manufacturing hub in southern Guangdong province where he was working, having left his native Shandong in 1999.
In the post, the author wrote the attack left him disabled and unable to work, but efforts to seek compensation and justice — through an official petitioning system that rarely achieves petitioners’ goals — met no success. USA TODAY could not immediately verify the blog’s content or author.
Despite the desperately low chance of resolving their disputes through the process, many Chinese opt for petitioning in the hope that an official will intervene on their behalf. Going to court is less popular, as costs are higher and the public perceives judges as following the orders of the local Communist party officials who appoint them.
Explosions at Chinese airports are rare, and the blast could lead to changes in security measures. At some provincial airports in China, people entering terminal buildings must pass their luggage through screening machines.
Terminal 3 was unveiled just before the 2008 Summer Olympic Games and is the airport’s hub for international flights.
Contributing: Katharine Lackey; The Associated Press
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