News / Asia

Man Who Set Off Bomb at Beijing Airport Goes on Trial

FILE - A policeman stands amid smoke at the arrival gate B after an explosion at Terminal 3 of Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, July 20, 2013.
FILE - A policeman stands amid smoke at the arrival gate B after an explosion at Terminal 3 of Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, July 20, 2013.
VOA News
A disabled Chinese man, who set off a homemade explosive at Beijing's airport to draw attention to his grievances against the government, has gone on trial in the Chinese capital.

In Tuesday's hearing, Ji Zhongxing told the court he "deeply regrets" triggering the device at the airport on July 20 - an action that injured only himself but filled the room with smoke.

Ji, who is in his 30s, is a former motorcycle taxi driver who says authorities beat him severely in the southern city of Dongguan in 2005, leaving him confined to a wheelchair.

Laying on a stretcher in the courtroom, Ji said he wanted police to arrest him at the Beijing airport so that he could raise his complaints about the alleged 2005 incident.

Prosecutors have charged him with endangering public safety at the airport. He asked the judge to give him "another chance."

Ji Zhongji, cries as he speaks to journalists about his brother, Ji Zhongxing, who is on trial for endangering public safety by setting off an explosion two months ago at Beijing's airport, outside a courthouse in Beijing, Sept. 17, 2013.Ji Zhongji, cries as he speaks to journalists about his brother, Ji Zhongxing, who is on trial for endangering public safety by setting off an explosion two months ago at Beijing's airport, outside a courthouse in Beijing, Sept. 17, 2013.
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Ji Zhongji, cries as he speaks to journalists about his brother, Ji Zhongxing, who is on trial for endangering public safety by setting off an explosion two months ago at Beijing's airport, outside a courthouse in Beijing, Sept. 17, 2013.
Ji Zhongji, cries as he speaks to journalists about his brother, Ji Zhongxing, who is on trial for endangering public safety by setting off an explosion two months ago at Beijing's airport, outside a courthouse in Beijing, Sept. 17, 2013.
The defendant's brother, Ji Zhongji, attended the hearing and told VOA by phone that the blast was an accident.

"This is not his fault," he said. "The problem is, he was holding the explosive and touched it unintentionally when he moved it from one hand to the other. He immediately warned people around him to run away, saying 'my explosive will go off instantly.'"

The brother also echoed Ji Zhongxing's call for authorities to prosecute those responsible for the alleged 2005 assault.

"I hope those who beat my brother will be punished by law, so as to give him a satisfying answer. We just want them to give us justice," he said.

Ji's case has drawn sympathy from some Chinese Internet users who accuse the government of ignoring the former taxi driver's plight. About a dozen activists also gathered outside the court to show their support for him.

Yibing Feng of VOA's Mandarin Service contributed to this report.

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