- The Washington Times - Monday, March 10, 2003

BEIJING College students in the heart of urban northern China expressed surprise during the weekend to learn that a farmworker from the south had confessed to planting bombs on their campuses.
The suspect, identified as 27-year-old Huang Minxiang of Fuzhou in southeastern China's Fujian province, was arrested in his hometown early Saturday and flown back to the capital, Beijing, police said.
The official Xinhua News Agency quoted Mr. Huang as saying he hoped to achieve fame by planting the two bombs that exploded 90 minutes apart at the elite Peking and Tsinghua universities located next to each other in Beijing. Nine persons were injured.
His arrest, announced in a rare news conference by Beijing's police, took place on the fourth day of the National People's Congress, the country's annual legislative meeting.
"Where would a farmer get the idea to do something like this?" asked a 35-year-old Tsinghua graduate student in biology who gave only her last name, Sun. "Was he crazy, or did he have a cause? Was he Falun Gong?" she asked, referring to the banned religious group.
The status of the two schools has spurred speculation that the bombings were politically motivated.
Tsinghua, one of China's leading science and engineering schools, is the alma mater of many upper-level officials including Premier Zhu Rongji and Hu Jintao, the new Communist Party general secretary who is expected to be named president at the legislature in coming days.
Peking University also has political links: Its students were considered the wellspring of the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square.
The news agency said Mr. Huang had been working on a farm in Hainan province, an island off China's southern coast. It attributed the information to Qiang Wei, deputy secretary of the Beijing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China.
"The reason for choosing these two universities was that they are renowned institutions. I'd be famous if I could make explosions there," Xinhua quoted Mr. Huang as telling Beijing police.
Investigators from the Beijing Public Security Bureau arrested Mr. Huang Saturday in Fuzhou, 1,000 miles southeast of their headquarters, said police spokesman Liu Wei.
"The Beijing police rapidly mobilized all their strength and, with close cooperation between all branches … locked onto the suspect in Fuzhou," Mr. Liu said.
He said he had no information on a motive or the evidence against Mr. Huang, who police say confessed.
Yang Zhigang, 30, a cook, was working in the Tsinghua University cafeteria when the first bomb exploded. "I thought it was a terrorist," said Mr. Yang, who wasn't hurt.
On Saturday afternoon, several cooks played cards just a few feet from where the crude bomb, made of gunpowder and an unknown detonator, exploded. Deep ruts in the walls were not yet repaired, although Mr. Yang said it has been "business as usual" since the day after the explosion.

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