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Blasts Outside Communist Party Office in Northern China Kills 1

Chinese state media say a series of small explosions outside a Communist Party office in a northern city has killed one person and injured eight others.

The official Xinhua news agency says the small, apparently homemade, bombs went off early Wednesday outside the Shanxi Provincial Committee office in Taiyuan.

Ball bearings and nails were found scattered at the scene, leading Xinhua to report the blasts were caused by "self-made bombs." Such materials are often used to help maximize damage to passersby.

One witness told Xinhua he was waiting on a traffic light in front the building when saw a minivan explode. Others reported hearing as many as seven blasts. Pictures on social media showed multiple vehicles with minor damage, such as windows blown out.

Police have sealed off the area, which is normally very busy on weekday mornings. There is no word on motive.

The incident comes just over a week after a deadly car crash and explosion in Tiananmen Square that Beijing has blamed on Muslim separatists.



In that incident, officials say three people from the troubled northwest region of Xinjiang ran a car into a group of tourists and set their vehicle on fire. All three people inside the vehicle and two tourists died. Dozens were wounded.

Xinjiang is home to the mostly Muslim Uighur ethnic group, which often complains of religious and cultural persecution at the hands of the government. Clashes between Uighurs and majority Han Chinese or security forces sometimes occur, incidents Beijing refers to as terrorism.

But Wednesday's explosion also bore similarities to past attacks by Chinese petitioners from across the country who sometimes target government buildings in an attempt to have their grievances heard.

The Taiyun incident was also notable because it came just days before a sensitive, four-day meeting of Communist leaders in Beijing, where they will decide on the country's economic plan for the next decade.

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