Residents in east China town still shocked and puzzled after deadly explosion

Locals are wondering why disturbed young man would have bombed kindergarten, as police are claiming

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 June, 2017, 11:48pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 June, 2017, 12:35am

About 24 hours after a blast at the gate of a kindergarten that killed eight people, the small Chinese township of Feng county was still in shock and puzzlement.

While local police have announced that the explosion was caused by a 22-year-old male, who was among the eight killed, residents are still asking why the young man would have attacked the school and how he managed to get the explosives. Bomb attacks are rare on the mainland as explosives are strictly managed.

Some 65 people were injured in the blast outside the Chuangxin Kindergarten in Feng county, which happened at about 5pm as many parents were waiting to pick up children from the school, witnesses said. No pupils or teachers from the kindergarten are known to have been hurt in the explosion.

“I wonder why he did this?” asked a local woman, surnamed Duan. In her 60s, she still looked frightened when she recalled the explosion that took place on Thursday afternoon. She said she was only about 20 metres away from the blast.

It was so loud that “I felt my eardrum was broken”, she told the South China Morning Post at the Feng County Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital, where her ear was being treated.

She was lucky compared to her younger brother, who was closer to the entrance to the kindergarten and was seriously injured in the explosion.

“My brother is in critical condition because his brain was badly wounded by the bomb,” she said. “I am really worried about him.” She said she saw her brother lying on the ground with his head “covered by blood and mud” after the explosion.

The incident, which shocked the whole country, has become the main talking point in an otherwise sleepy town, surrounded by fields of wheat. The nearest railway station is about 100km away, a 90 minute drive. Most buildings in the town are matchbox-like low-rises.

Suspect, 22, killed in China kindergarten blast made bomb at home, report says

The police have not labelled the case a terrorist attack, but the act of a young man who lost his mind.

There is a record of such attacks across China. In March 2010, a man in Fujian province stabbed eight primary school students and hurt another five. In May 2010, a man in Shaanxi province used a knife to kill seven children at a kindergarten.

Wei Liqian, a farmer in Feng county who lives near the kindergarten, said he was visiting a flower shop about 100 metres away and ran over to the site after he heard a big bang. He said he saw many people lying on the ground and a lot of blood and debris.

“The ground was very hot,” he said.

A day after the explosion took place, the site was sealed. At the Chinese medicine hospital, groups of police and guards were standing and patrolling. Staff were positioned at the doors of patients’ rooms to prevent journalists and strangers from entering.

When the Post’s photographer tried to take a few shots of the public area of the hospital, a group of guards tried to intervene.