China state media plays down deadly blasts at party HQ

BEIJING - Chinese official media on Thursday downplayed a series of deadly blasts that struck near a provincial headquarters of the ruling Communist Party, warning against overstating their impact.

Authorities have not indicated a possible motive for Wednesday's incident, which follows a fiery attack in Tiananmen Square last week that Beijing says was an act of terror carried out by members of the Uighur minority from northwest Xinjiang.

The Global Times newspaper, which is close to the ruling Communist Party, emphasised in an editorial that investigators need time to get to the bottom of the bombings in Taiyuan, capital of the northern province of Shanxi.

"No matter what the conclusion is, there is no need to exaggerate the influence of the explosions," it said. "We should avoid creating illusions that the bomb-planters carried out an earth-shattering event."

The paper ran a front-page story on the explosions that killed at least one person and wounded eight others near the party provincial commission in Taiyuan. The state-run China Daily devoted only a small corner on the bottom of its third page to the incident.

Police discovered ball bearings and electric circuit boards at the scene of the explosions, suggesting home-made devices intended to cause maximum damage.

According to the Shanghai-based China Business News, police are searching for a suspect who fled the scene of the bombings in a black Volkswagen Santana.

The report said that local authorities were able to identify the suspect's vehicle after reviewing footage from newly installed high-definition CCTV video cameras on the street near the provincial commission.

Passengers wishing to travel by bus from Taiyuan to Beijing by bus are now required to show their ID cards in order to purchase tickets, according to the local Shanxi Evening News.

"A small group of extremists are learning from external terrorists and extremists, which is a result of China's opening up," the Global Times wrote, wording that echoed the official reaction to the Tiananmen crash on October 28.

The paper acknowledged what it called "deep flaws of the current society".

It added that while there have been calls for an exploration of the "underlying causes" of the recent attacks, "reflecting on how to address these problems in front of an extreme event is of no use to solve problems, but will send the wrong signal to extremists."

China's top security official has accused the separatist East Turkestan Islamic Movement of supporting the Tiananmen attack.

Chinese Internet users on Thursday condemned this week's bombings, with some expressing anger at the killing of innocent people.

"Why do you want to harm innocent people? If you really have hatred toward somebody, you can resolve it among yourselves. By implicating innocent people, you're sinning against society," wrote one online commenter.