At least two people were killed and six injured by three explosions within an hour on Thursday at different government office buildings in a city in southern China, according to state media and a provincial government Web site. The blasts occurred in the city of Fuzhou in Jiangxi Province between 9 and 9:45 a.m., according to the government posting, which appeared on the province’s propaganda bureau Web site. The first one was at the Fuzhou Procurator’s Office, the second at the Linzhuan District government building and the third in a car park at the Linzhuan Food and Drug Administration office.
A photograph posted on a Chinese social networking Web site and on the Web site of Phoenix Television, based in Hong Kong, showed a large cloud of smoke rising above a cluster of buildings as scores of people watched from a wide avenue. Other photos and a short video on the Phoenix Television Web site showed government buildings with windows blown out, shattered glass on sidewalks and damaged cars. The Web site of Xinhua, the state news agency, posted an item saying the explosives were planted by a farmer who was angry with the handling of a court case, which could explain why the first explosion took place at the procurator’s office. That office supervises legal matters in Fuzhou and is responsible for the prosecution and investigation of legal cases. The Xinhua posting had been deleted by 1 p.m.
The lack of rule of law in the country is an abiding source of frustration for ordinary Chinese, many of whom believe that true justice is elusive. Legal experts say China’s efforts at legal reform have stalled in recent years, and in many cases have gone backward. The central government’s disregard for legal proceedings has been evident during a broad crackdown this year on progressive speech and thought, as security officers have detained and interrogated hundreds of intellectuals, artists, dissidents and rights advocates without citing any legal basis. If the attacks in Fuzhou were carried out by a disgruntled farmer, as the Xinhua Web site had reported, then that raises again the question of whether China needs to establish greater rule of law in order to ensure stability.