A large explosion has taken place “near the US Embassy in Beijing with smoke filling the surrounding streets.” Photos and videos circulating in social media shows large crowds moving towards the smoke to see what happened. Uniformed security personnel are also seen to have cordoned off the area around the Embassy. The Embassy occupies a large plot of land in the northeastern part of the Chinese capital.
According to this tweet, witnesses say a man brought a homemade explosive with the intention of throwing it into the embassy, but it exploded beside him instead. Haven't verified this yet. https://t.co/brqjPex8hu
— Grace Lee (@graceleenews) July 26, 2018
Social media photo of smoke from reported explosion outside US Embassy Beijing. That domed structure you see is the Indian Embassy, which is just down the road on Tianze Lu. pic.twitter.com/e1LAl2aMci
— Ananth Krishnan (@ananthkrishnan) July 26, 2018
“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. The spokesperson added: “According to the Embassy’s Regional Security Officer, there was one individual who detonated a bomb. Other than the bomber, there were no injuries.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that the explosion was an “isolated public order incident” and that Beijing police had handled the matter in a “timely and proper manner.”
Beijing police however said that was caused by a “firework device”. A 26-year-old man, suspected to be behind the blast, injured his hand in the explosion, Beijing police added. There were no reports of any causalities or of any major damage.
Reuters reported that a police SUV appears to have been damaged with its windshield missing from the incident and that the vehicle was cordoned off by police before being removed.
The blast happened in an area that is usually crowded with visa applicants. Students, families and agents throng the area waiting for visa appointments.
The Global Times reported on Wednesday morning of an attempt at self-immolation taking place outside of the embassy. It’s not clear if these two incidents are related.
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) July 26, 2018
Tension between China and the U.S. has been high since trade war was declared between both countries.