Beijing airport explosion
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One Weibo photo posted by a witness purportedly shows the moment of detonation. SCMP Pictures

Pictured: Moment man sets off bomb at Beijing airport

Wheelchair user with pent-up frustration injures no one else but himself

A petitioner in a wheelchair set off a home-made bomb near the international arrivals gate at Beijing Capital International Airport yesterday evening, raising security concerns at one of the world's busiest airports.

The petitioner, identified as Ji Zhongxing, of Heze city, Shandong, did not have life-threatening injuries and was sent to hospital, Xinhua said. Other local media reported that he had his left arm amputated after being rushed to a Beijing hospital. 

State media said no other casualties were reported and no flights were affected by the blast in the airport's iconic Terminal 3, but some online news portals have said one policeman suffered light injuries. 

The Xinhua report said Ji, 34, was trying to distribute leaflets "to draw attention to his complaints". He set off the explosive near exit B of the arrival hall at 6.25pm when security guards approached him.

The Beijing News newspaper on Sunday quoted several witnesses as saying Ji repeatedl yelled "I have a bomb, stay away from me" before the bomb went off, when several security staff were seen rushing towards him.

A police officer at the scene told the last night that Ji used black explosive powder similar to that used in fireworks. Ji suffered injuries to his arm, he said.

Internet users quickly uncovered Ji's identity and microblog account on Sina Weibo, in which he complained about being left paralysed by a beating at the hands of security officers hired by local police in 2005.

The migrant worker said he was driving a motorcycle taxi in the Dongguan village of Xintang when they attacked him.

Many web users and activists compared Ji's case to the infamous Yang Jia, a disgruntled young man who killed six policemen in Shanghai and was executed in 2008.

Shi Shusi, an editor at the , noted on a microblog that there had been many cases in the past year of frustrated people resorting to violence over disputes with local officials.

"For whom does the alarm bell ring?" Shi wrote.

Passengers who arrived at the hall later said they were alarmed by the potential risk. "Security measures in Beijing airport should be sufficient and yet such incidents still happened," said Wang Jing, who arrived from Chicago. "It is worrying."

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Bomb goes off at Beijing airport