Peking hit by rush-hour bus explosion
Saturday 08 March 1997
Early this morning there was still a heavy police presence on Xidan Street, where debris could be seen outside one of the big shopping malls. Staff at Jishuitan Hospital said some of the eight injured had burns all over their bodies.
Terrorist attacks in China, or at least those that come to light, are rare. If Uighur Muslim separatists have started a bombing campaign in Peking, the loopholes in China's apparently strict security system will soon become apparent, even with policing tightened in the wake of the death of Deng Xiaoping.
Explosives are easy to come by in a country where there are many private mines and controls can be lax. Public transport is overcrowded and disorganised, and it would be difficult to check passengers.
Yesterday's explosion may, however, turn out to have no connection to the Xinjiang situation. The most recent, known, explosion on a Peking bus happened a couple of years ago, when a peasant boarded a bus carrying a large amount of explosives in his bag.
Xinjiang province has been under intense police surveillance since the three bus bombs on 25 February in Urumqi city. Yesterday a pro-Peking newspaper in Hong Kong said seven suspects had been arrested in connection with the blasts.
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