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China Probes Series of Bombings - 2001-12-18


China is investigating a series of bomb explosions in its mid-west and southern regions. Beijing says the blasts are not related, but security in the capital has been stepped up.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue says that an explosion Saturday evening at a McDonald's restaurant in the midwest city of Xian killed two people and wounded scores of others.

Ms. Zhang told a news conference Tuesday that at this early stage, police consider the blast to be an isolated criminal act and are investigating. She said the Xian case is not related to several other bombings that took place over the weekend.

The official Xinhua News Agency reports that one day before the McDonald's blast, 23 explosions killed five people and injured seven in two southern cities, Zhanjiang and Jiangmen. Xinhua blames those blasts on a lone man seeking revenge for personal and business grievances.

Ms. Zhang says that the explosions do not signal a deterioration in China's security, and that China has all along taken a series of measures to ensure the safety of people's lives and property.

However, police in Beijing have beefed up security in general since the September terrorist attacks in the United States. In recent weeks, extra precautions have been taken near the American and British embassies, including closing off roads to cars and most pedestrians.