Beijing Killings: Two Dead and Twelve Injured

September 20, 2009 6:56 am Last Updated: September 20, 2009 8:01 am

A man armed with a knife has indisciminately stabbed pedestrians in an area south of Tiananmen Square on September 17, resulting in two dead and 12 injured.

According to Radio Free Asia (RFA), a witness said that the incident happened at 8 p.m. Two security guards died at the scene and another 12 people were hospitalized. The motivation for the killings was unclear.

According to the RFA report, over 1,000 armed police are deployed at the scene. Beijing has removed reporters from near the area.

A  brief note on state media Xinhua News on September 17 disclosed that the two who died were security guards. A 46-year-old suspect, Zhang Jianfei was arrested. The Xinhua article did not mention that the killing took place near Tiananmen.

A witness said that Zhang had a two-foot-long knife and hacked whoever he came across. There was a lot of blood at the scene.

According to local resident, Mr. Wu, the incident occurred on Qianmen Street, close to the renowned Quanjude Duck House.

The staff of the Quanjude Duck House refused to comment on the incident, saying, “We won’t accept any interviews. Please contact the relevant [government] departments.”

When a local police station was telephoned about the incident, the person who answered the phone said, “Sorry I cannot answer this question,” and immediately hung up.

Tan Xiangfei, was at the scene after the crime and sent a message via Twitter. He wrote, “A man about 5’ 7” in height grabbed an elderly woman. He put a knife against her neck. There was also a foreign elderly man and a child in front of them. I didn’t see the attack but I heard the lady was bleeding heavily. Later the lady was lying on the ground and the child covered her. From their expression, she was still alive. Whether she died or not is unknown.”

The authorities put traffic controls in place on Qianmen Street. It is illegal to carry large or regulated knives.

Another knife attacked occurred on September 19. The attack took place in broad daylight, late Saturday morning, near Tiananmen Square. Two people were injured by a man who was latter arrested for the attack. The state run Xinhua News Agency identified one of the victims as a French woman.

The Chinese Communist Party is planning an extended celebration on October 1 for its 60 year anniversary. According to Xinhua, the Beijing Public Security Bureau has set up 200 checkpoints around Beijing to search cars and pedestrians.

Beijing issued an order that from September 15 to midnight October 8, all aviation in the city is prohibited, including flying of kites.

Speculation abounds as to why such a high level of security has been implemented for a 'celebration'.

Read the original Chinese article