A trader of a poor area in Sichuan province suspected of stealing money blew up the county government building, killing seven of its leaders and setting off alarm in the corridors of power in Beijing.
At 3.20am on June 26, a huge explosion rocked the seat of government in Lingnan county in southeast Sichuan, demolishing half of the three-storey building, spreading debris over a 100-metre area and killing six people instantly, a local official said yesterday.
It was used both as office and residence by senior county officials. The dead included the county chief, his deputy and the number two in the local Communist Party. One person died in hospital, taking the death toll to seven.
When news of the bomb blast reached Beijing, Luo Gan, head of the party's political and legal committee, ordered immediate action, the Beijing Youth Daily reported. On the orders of Sichuan Governor Zhou Yongkang, a team of 50 police officers was sent to the remote area to deal with the case.
On Friday morning, police arrested Yin Kaihua, 50, a specialist silkworm breeder and silk trader.
The night before the explosion, Yin had appeared before a committee in charge of silkworms which demanded he account for a missing 100,000 yuan (HK$94,000) within two days. Enraged, Yin stole dynamite from a village warehouse and set off the blast. 'His was a personal, not a political motive,' the official said. Yin is now in custody.
Lingnan is a poor farming area of about 50,000 people whose average per capita income of 650 yuan a year is supported by sugar cane, silkworm and tobacco production.
Anger over low incomes, illegal fees and taxes and corruption is widespread among China's 900 million farmers, leading to regular, sometimes violent protests.