Daily Telegraph, London, on November 6, 2013, reported on an audacious attack on the headquarters of the Communist party in the province of Shanxi saw at least six homemade bombs, fitted with timers and packed with ball bearings and metal shrapnel, explode during morning rush hour. Excerpts below:

Almost all the bombs were left in the hedges that line the 12-lane road outside the imposing 20-storey biscuit-coloured building in the city of Taiyuan.

One, however, was placed in an ornamental flower pot barely 30 feet from the main gate of the building.

The explosions began at 7.40am, according to the local police. “They must have been timed for when government officials begin to arrive at work,” said one local, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of incident. “If they wanted to hurt the public, they would have left them outside the bus station”.

“They went off one after another, with a 20-second interval between them: bang, bang, bang,” he added.

At least 20 vehicles were damaged in the blasts, with one bus left outside the building, its back window smashed and its paint flecked with shrapnel.

The bombs, while small, were not unsophisticated. Police investigators said they had found computer circuit boards among the debris, perhaps part of a timer system. Ball-bearings, some an inch wide, were packed inside.

There was no confirmation of the identity of the fatality, but bystanders said an elderly lady had been hit while walking her grandson to primary school.

The timing of the blasts could not come at a more sensitive moment for the Communist party. Last week, a white jeep exploded in Tiananmen Square in what the state media has termed a “terrorist attack”.

This weekend, meanwhile, the Communist party’s most senior leaders will begin a key meeting known as the Third Plenum to thrash out the future of the Chinese economy.

Taiyuan has one of the largest wealth disparities in China, with the emergence in recent years of a class of obscenely wealthy coal barons.

The bombs appear to be confirmation that the simmering anger that has bubbled over in recent years in the form of street protests across China has now hardened into more drastic, and destructive, action.


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