Detention and Deletion Follow Beijing Embassy Blast

At around 1pm on Thursday, an explosive device was detonated outside the U.S. embassy in Beijing. The Washington Post’s Danielle Paquette and Emily Rauhala report:

As the crowd scattered, police quickly apprehended the suspect, whom they identified as a man from Inner Mongolia with the last name Jiang. The blast hurt his hand, authorities said.

[…] But less than an hour later, the scene was largely clear and the embassy was again open for business. More than a hundred people stood outside, some unaware that a bomber had recently ignited a device less than 100 meters away.

Only a trail of blood remained on the sidewalk. Onlookers crouched around the droplets, snapping photos on their phones.

Police told reporters to leave.

As rumors swirled Thursday, the Global Times, a Communist Party-controlled newspaper, reported there had been an attempted self-immolation at the same spot at 11:00 a.m., briefly creating confusion about what took place. It is unclear whether that incident occurred. Local police have not commented. [Source]

Due to the location of the blast, journalists were able to reach the scene within minutes, and witness on-the-ground information control and containment efforts including attempted police intimidation, the apparent detention of a woman who shared images with reporters, and the ad hoc recruitment of cleaners from a nearby compound. Others, meanwhile, watched online as the initial burst of activity around the explosion was quickly stifled. (According to China Media Project, which compiled some of the deleted posts, “a search on Weibo for ’embassy’ (大使馆) now turns up an array of official responses to the explosion, including information from the official Weibo account of the police, and the response from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as reported by the Global Times.”)

A Twitter thread from AFP’s Becky Davis recorded the woman’s detention:

From others: