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China punishes officials over deadly explosions
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Sept 16, 2011

Authorities in eastern China said Friday they had fired a top official for failing to resolve a drawn-out land dispute with a man who is believed to have set off three deadly explosions.

Another official resigned from his post over the incident that took place in May in Jiangxi province's Fuzhou city, killing four people -- including the alleged perpetrator -- and injuring 10 others.

Xi Dongsen, former head of a Fuzhou district where the blasts went off, was dismissed from his post and placed on probation within the Communist Party for two years, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Probation is the second-most serious punishment after expulsion from the party.

He Daxin, former president of a Fuzhou court, was given a serious warning from the party and his request to resign from his post was accepted by city authorities, it added.

A spokesman for the provincial discipline inspection committee -- a body charged with rooting out malfeasance among party officials -- confirmed the Xinhua information when contacted by AFP, but refused further comment.

The report said another 14 officials were also disciplined, but did not detail the nature of their punishments.

The explosions struck at 10-minute intervals on the morning of May 26 at the parking garage of the city prosecutor's office, at a district government office and near the city's food and drug agency.

Qian Mingqi, the 52-year-old suspect who allegedly set them off, had been involved in a long-standing land dispute with the local government -- a common trigger for unrest in China.

According to Xinhua, Qian had been resettled to make way for a highway in 2002, but was unhappy at the compensation offered to him.

The report said the officials failed to properly deal with the "reasonable and legitimate requests" of local residents.

The unusually premeditated incident made waves around China, where bomb attacks -- while still rare -- have been increasingly frequent in recent years.

They have typically been carried out by individuals angry over perceived injustices, business disputes or other pressures associated with China's rapid modernisation.

In another such incident in May, more than 40 people were injured when a disgruntled former employee set off a petrol bomb at a bank in northwest China.

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