An explosion has hit the US Embassy in China. Picture: Jimmy Zhong
An explosion has hit the US Embassy in China. Picture: Jimmy Zhong

Bomb hits China’s US embassy

A LONE attacker has detonated a bomb at the US embassy in China's capital of Beijing.

Witnesses reported the large explosion this afternoon before dozens of officials swooped on the area.

"There was an explosion at approximately 1pm today in the public space off the South East corner of the Embassy compound," an embassy spokesperson said.

"According to the Embassy's Regional Security Officer, there was one individual who detonated a bomb. Other than the bomber, there were no injuries. The local police responded."

Beijing Police confirmed a 26-year-old man from Inner Mongolia set off the small device.

Police said the man's hand was injured and he was taken to hospital.

People gathered outside the compound as smoke filled the busy city.

Chinese media said witnesses reported the man intended to hurl the device into the embassy, but it exploded before he could get it over the fence, injuring people and a police car in its path.

The embassy is now closed to the surrounding corridors.

People in the area have posted pictures and video from the scene to Twitter and shared them on Chinese microblogging platform Weibo.

One video shows the military and police working around something under a blue tarp in the cordoned off area.

People are posting pictures from the smoke-filled area
People are posting pictures from the smoke-filled area

Witness Jimmy Zhong tweeted: "Something just exploded at the US Embassy in Beijing, China just a few min ago. Smoke everywhere."

BBC's China correspondent Stephen McDonnell said police were telling their crew not to film.

He followed the tweet with: "Things actually seem to be going back to normal here. People are lining up again for visas etc. This would probably suggest it wasn't all that serious."

Another journalist working for Republic TV, Aditya Raj Kaul, said he spoke to India's representative to Beijing, Ambassador Gautam Bambawle. The Indian Embassy is next door.

"We heard the blast. We are just next door. There are no fatalities. It was a low intensity blast. All Indians are safe," the man reportedly told the journalist.

He said Chinese police were examining a vehicle outside the US Embassy.

A visa agent who said he was about nine metres from where the blast occurred said the man who appeared to set off the explosive had been trying to call attention to a human rights issue.

He told the New York Times another woman protesting was arrested earlier in the day after dousing herself in gasoline. It is not clear whether the alleged incident was related to the explosion.

The incident happened in the Chaoyang district where there are a number of foreign embassies, including those of the US, India, Israel and South Korea.

The US Embassy has heavy security measures, including a bulletproof glass wall, and is America's third-largest diplomatic mission in the world, behind its embassies in Baghdad and Yerevan.

 

 

The smoky scene from an aerial view.
The smoky scene from an aerial view.

 

The street is packed with panicked people trying to see what’s happened.
The street is packed with panicked people trying to see what’s happened.

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