Failed Car Bomb in China Targeted Corruption Investigators, Report Says

August 8, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

Chinese Communist Party corruption investigators sent from the central government to investigate graft Chongqing were recently targeted with a car bomb, according to a Hong Kong political magazine.

The incident cannot be verified, but if true would illustrate another instance of resistance from local officials against the high-profile crackdown on graft initiated by Communist Party leader Xi Jinping. Xi says that both “flies” and “tigers” — that is, small-time officials and big-time ones — will be targeted.

The report of the attempted car bomb — the vehicles were reported to have merely caught fire, rather than exploding — was first reported in the magazine Frontline, which regularly carries political analyses and rumours of Chinese politics; summaries of the piece appeared widely on websites in the mainland. 

The incident was said to have taken place on July 14, and targeted central inspection team leader Xu Guangchun, who was on an inspection trip. He was examining official attendance and personnel records when two jeeps in the building parking lot caught fire. Officials said that the fires were set off with remote controls, according to Frontline.

In May of this year a Party Central disciplinary inspection team was routed in Heilongjiang after a granary belonging to the state-run China Grain Reserves Corporation, which they were inspecting, caught fire, burning 470,000 tonnes of grain worth at least 100 million yuan ($16 million). The official press said that it was an accident, while the public widely believed that the fire was deliberately set in order to destroy evidence of graft.