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Monday, March 19, 2001, updated at 22:23(GMT+8)

Cotton Mills Blast Case Still Under Investigation

Four explosions which killed 108 people and injured 38 were criminal acts, local police announced Sunday.

The blasts all occurred at around 5 o'clock on Friday morning in four different residential blocks in Shijia-zhuang, the capital of Hebei Province, on March 16.

The sites have now been cleared up by police and soldiers and investigations are under way.

Acting on instructions from central leadership, the Hebei provincial government is doing as much as possible to treat the injured.

Doctors from local hospitals and army units stationed in the city, along with experts from Beijing, are working around the clock to save lives.

Provincial and city departments have offered sympathy to the families and relatives of the victims and made proper arrangements for their daily needs.

The Ministry of Public Security has issued a "wanted" circular for a 41-year-old deaf man named Jin Ruchao.

Jin, a resident of the No 16 building, allegedly absconded after killing a woman, Wei Zhihua, on March 9 in Maguan County of Southwest China's Yunan Province.

The ministry circular says "he is also involved in other crimes," but it does not implicate him in the explosions. The man's photograph is on the circular.

A 50,000 yuan (US$6,030) reward will be given to people providing clues and assistance leading to the capture of the culprits. A local circular based on the ministry document has been dispatched across the city.

In the No 1 Municipal Hospital, Hu Zhenju, who was injured in the explosion, expressed her thanks to the rescuers. "I would not have survived without the help of the policemen and army soldiers," she said.

Almost all the windows of the buildings next to the No 16 building were shattered by the enormous shockwave caused by the explosion. Mill workers have been busy repairing them.

Flowers were laid yesterday in front of the No 23, 33 and 34 buildings, near the remains of the No 16 building, to mourn the victims.

15 Explosion Victims Discharged from Hospital

Fifteen of the 38 people injured in the fatal explosion in this capital of north China's Hubei Province on March 16, have been discharged from hospital, while the others remain hospitalized.

Sources with Norman Bethune International Peace Hospital Monday told Xinhua that all those injured in the explosion have received timely and careful medical treatment.

The hospital was named after Canadian surgeon Norman Bethune, who offered medical assistance to Chinese resistance forces fighting against the invading Japanese troops during World War II.

So far, five of the 11 seriously injured have been declared out of danger by doctors.

The explosions occurred at around 5 AM on March 16 in several places, including the residential buildings of the No.3 Cotton Mill of Shijiazhuang City, killing 108 people and injuring 38.

Local police said the explosions were criminal acts, citing the findings of preliminary investigations.

The provincial and local governments have ordered medical departments to do all they can to save the injured as requested by the central government.

The most elite medical doctors in the province, and those from Beijing, have been called to save the injured using all the best medical resources available to them.

In addition, the Shijiazhuang Municipal government also allocated money to cover the medical treatment as well as funeral services and burial of the those killed in the blasts.

In This Section

Four explosions which killed 108 people and injured 38 were criminal acts, local police announced Sunday.

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