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China: One dead and eight injured in explosions outside Communist party's headquarters in Taiyun

Eyewitness describes seeing smoke and flames emerging from a minivan while social media reports said small steel ball bearings scattered the scene of the blast

The Chinese city of Taiyun has been rocked by explosions outside the provincial headquarters of the ruling Communist party, leaving one person dead and eight others injured.

One of the injured was described as in seriously hurt. Two vehicles were also damaged in the explosion in the north central Chinese city.

The Shanxi provincial government and police said the blasts struck at about 7:40 am (2340 GMT Tuesday). Official statements posted online gave no information about the presumed target or perpetrators and an official with the party propaganda office, Zhang Lei, said he had no additional information.

The official Xinhua News Agency quoted an eyewitness, Liu Guoliang, as saying smoke and flames could be seen emerging from a minivan. Xinhua reported small steel ball bearings scattered around the scene of the blast.

The front of the headquarters building remained closed early this morning as fire trucks, ambulances and police vehicles gathered in the area. One showed a man lying on the ground, but there were no obvious signs of an explosive device used.

Security forces have been on high alert following an attack on Beijing last week, when three people drove through crowds to Tiananmen Gate before setting their vehicle alight. The attack killed five people, including those inside the vehicle, and two tourists.

Taiyun is the capital city of coal-rich Shanxi and lies 310 miles southwest of beijing.