BEIJING -- A man in a wheelchair who was airing grievances set off a homemade bomb in a crowded terminal at Beijing's main airport on Saturday evening, injuring himself but no one else, Chinese state media and witnesses said.
Order was quickly restored and no flights were affected by the explosion at the airport's main international terminal, state-run China Central Television said on its microblog.
The official Xinhua News Agency said a wheel-chaired Chinese man set off the device outside the arrivals exit of Terminal 3 at Beijing Capital International Airport at around 6:24 p.m. It said the man was being treated for injuries, but that no one else was hurt in the explosion.
"The explosion sound was loud," said a witness who gave only his family name, Chen. He said he was only 25 meters (27 yards) away from the explosion when it occurred.
Chen said there was only one explosion, and that the terminal was crowded with people. "Since there was no second explosion, many people took out their phones and gathered near the explosion spot to take photos," he said.
He said police responded to the explosion immediately.
Another witness, who gave only his last name, Qing, said there was no one around the man when he set off the bomb.
"It sounded like the sound of big firecrackers," said Qing, who was about 60 meters (66 yards) away from the explosion. "We couldn't see really what happened afterward. There was a lot of smoke and the police arrived very fast."
CCTV identified the man in the wheelchair as Ji Zhongxing, born in 1979 and from the eastern province of Shandong.
It was not immediately clear why the man allegedly set off the bomb, but Xinhua said he was stopped from handing out leaflets airing his complaints before setting off the bomb. Xinhua, which cited an initial police investigation, did not say what his complaints were.
In an online blog entry from 2006, a writer who provides the same name, the same year of birth and the same hometown in Shandong province as Ji complained of his disabilities resulting from cruel beatings by security personnel in the southern province of Guangdong. He said he had been seeking justice and compensation, but to no avail.
"Because we are peasants and we are poor, no one is willing to help us," the author wrote in the entry, which was the latest one in the blog.
The blog, which was available immediately after the explosion, was removed within hours, and it was not possible to verify its authenticity.
Photos posted by CCTV on its microblog showed the area near the arrivals exit empty and filled with smoke. One photo showed medical staff and police officers gathering at one spot, with a wheelchair sitting on its side a few steps away.
Reached by phone, the airport's news office said it was not aware of the explosion, and airport police declined to answer questions.
Terminal 3, which opened in 2008 just ahead of the Beijing Olympics, is the airport's hub for international flights. United Airlines and American Airlines are among the carriers that operate out of the terminal.
United Airlines spokeswoman Karen May in Chicago said the explosion did not affect its operations. American Airlines could not be reached immediately for comment.
Associated Press TV producer Aritz Parra contributed to this report.
Captions By The Associated Press
Explosives packed in a pressure cooker shake a shopping mall in Katmandu, the capital of Nepal. Shops are damaged but there are no casualties. <em>Caption: Nepalese pedestrians walk through a shopping mall in Kathmandu on January 26, 2011. (PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)</em>
Ten accused Islamic militants are convicted for their roles in a plot to blow up a Christmas market in the eastern French city of Strasbourg on New Year's Eve 2000. Authorities say the group had planned to blow up containers packed with explosives, a technique they allegedly learned in Afghan camps. <em>Caption: People walk around a giant Christmas tree on November 24, 2012 in Strasbourg, eastern France on the opening day of the city's Christmas market, the largest and one of the eldest French Christmas markets. (PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images)</em>
A series of bombings kill 20 people in India. One bomb – at a temple in the northern city of Varanasi where five people died – was placed in a pressure cooker and detonated by a timing device. <em>Caption: Indian shopkeepers from Varanasi Traders Association hold candles during an All Religion Peace march for those killed in the bomb blast in Varanasi, 09 March 2006. (PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)</em>
Suspected militants attack the U.S.-based Christian aid group World Vision in northwestern Pakistan, killing six Pakistani employees. Officials say the attackers remotely detonated a pressure cooker bomb. <em>Caption: People examine the damaged office of World Vision, an international humanitarian group, after an attack by suspected militants in Ogi, a small town in the Pakistani district of Mansehra, Wednesday, March 10, 2010. (AP Photo/Naveed Sultan)</em>
One of the three devices used in the May 2010 Times Square attempted bombing was a pressure cooker, according to a joint FBI and Homeland Security intelligence report issued in July 2010. <em>Caption: In this image taken from video, a police officer approaches the vehicle containing a car bomb, which stands with the door open and the police officer reaches down to lift one of the red canisters on the roadway at New York's Times Square, NY, U.S.A., Sunday, May 2, 2010. (AP Photo/APTV)</em>
U.S. jurors hear that explosives experts had found a pressure cooker containing smokeless gunpowder and other material in the Texas motel room of a soldier accused of planning to blow up Fort Hood military troops and other personnel. <em>Caption: Naser Jason Abdo, riding in a Waco Police vehicle and wearing a facial mask, is taken from the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Waco, Texas Thursday Aug. 9, 2012. He was convicted of planning a massive attack on a restaurant full of Fort Hood soldiers as part of a religious mission. (AP Photo/Waco Tribune-Herald, Duane A. Laverty)</em>
French police find bomb-making materials in an underground parking lot near Paris as part of a probe into an attack on a kosher grocery. The discovery includes bags of potassium nitrate, sulfur, headlight bulbs and a container used as a make-shift pressure cooker. <em>Caption: A gendarme secures the entrance of a lock-up garage, possibly used by people arrested during an anti-terror operation conducted four days ago, on October 10, 2012 in Torcy, east of Paris. (MEHDI FEDOUACH/AFP/GettyImages)</em>
A bomb hidden in a pressure cooker explodes inside a restaurant in northern Afghanistan, killing five people. <em>Caption: An Afghan intelligence officer, center, tries to turn on a vehicle used by an insurgent, who was killed by security forces, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)</em>
Twin explosions rock the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing at least three and injuring more than 175 people. <em>Caption: Bill Iffrig, 78, lies on the ground as police officers react to a second explosion at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Iffrig, of Lake Stevens, Wash., was running his third Boston Marathon and near the finish line when he was knocked down by one of two bomb blasts. (AP Photo/The Boston Globe, John Tlumacki)</em>