1 killed in double blasts in northeast China – official

BEIJING, China (UPDATED) – Twin blasts rocked a high-rise in northeast China on Friday, January 25, killing one person and injuring another in an incident being treated as a criminal case, local authorities said.

The first blast happened at around 3:13 pm (0713 GMT) when the fire brigade received a report of a car explosion in an underground garage of the Wanda Plaza in Changchun, the city's government said in a statement posted on social media.

Three minutes later, a second explosion occurred in an office on the 30th floor of the complex. An earlier statement said that blast left one dead. It was unclear where the second person was injured.

The Changchun government added that a criminal investigation has been opened.

Eyewitnesses reported hearing over 20 explosions and people were evacuated from buildings surrounding the Wanda Plaza Apartment, the state-run Beijing Youth Daily newspaper reported.

Social media footage showed a busy road shrouded in smoke as devices exploded on the ground while people fled. Another video showed a blast on the upper floors of a high-rise building.

Agence France-Presse could not independently verify the authenticity of the videos.

Past blasts

Bomb explosions have occurred in China in recent years.

Last July, a 26-year-old man set off a small explosive outside the United States embassy in Beijing, injuring his hand and sending smoke into the air. Police said he was from Inner Mongolia but did not reveal any motive.

In June 2017, a bomb exploded outside a kindergarten in east Jiangsu province, killing 8 people and injuring dozens. The explosion was blamed on a 22-year-old introvert with health problems who died in the blast.

Ethnic Uighurs from the restive far west region of Xinjiang have been tied to mass stabbings and bombings that left dozens dead in recent years across the country.

The unrest prompted authorities to launch a sweeping campaign against terrorism and separatism that included the construction of what rights groups denounce as internment camps holding as many as one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities.

The Chinese government describes the camps as vocational education centers aimed at combatting extremist thoughts and providing jobs.

Chinese authorities say no attacks have been committed in Xinjiang in the past two years thanks to the strategy.

The Jilin incident also comes just over a week before the Lunar New Year holiday, which the Chinese usually welcome with firecrackers and fireworks, sometimes resulting in accidents.

Last February, a fireworks explosion killed 4 and injured 5 in southwestern Yunnan province.

In January 2006, 36 people were killed as they celebrated the Lunar New Year at a temple festival in central China's Henan province when fireworks exploded in an illegal factory storeroom nearby. – Rappler.com