Shijiazhuang bombings

The Shijiazhuang bombings (Chinese: 爆炸 or 石家庄“3·16”特大爆炸), also known as Jin Ruchao bombings and March 16 bombings, were a series of bomb blasts that took place on March 16, 2001 in Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei province in North China. A total of 108 people were killed,[1] and 38 others injured when within a short period of time several bombs exploded near four apartment buildings.[2] Investigations found that Jin was motivated by hatred for his ex-wife, ex-mother-in-law and a lover;[3][4] he had previously threatened to blow up their buildings.[3]

Shijiazhuang bombings
Jin Ruchao.jpg
Jin Ruchao
LocationShijiazhuang, Hebei, China
DateMarch 16, 2001
Attack type
PerpetratorJin Ruchao

Sequence of eventsEdit

Locations of targeted dorms
1. Number 3 Cotton Mill
2. Shijiazhuang Number 1 Construction
3. Hardware Company
4. Minjin Street hutong

The explosives were made from ammonium nitrate. Jin had paid 950 RMB ($115) to Wang Yushun (王玉顺) and Hao Fengqin (郝凤琴), owners of an illegal explosives workshop near Shijiazhuang.[5]

According to Jin Ruchao's confession, he flew to Tianjin after stabbing his girlfriend to death in her home in Maguan County, Yunnan and took a bus to the suburbs of Shijiazhuang, where he hid the fuse and detonators. He then purchased dynamite from Wang Yushun, from whom he also bought small quantities of dynamite from the previous year for experiments, in Luquan District. From March 12-14, Jin bought dynamite from Wang 3 times. On the 15th, Jin rented a pick-up truck to transport his bombs to his targets, which were in bags labeled as "chicken feed". For some reason, the truck driver refused to take the bags further while midway through the journey and Jin was forced to store them in an abandoned building in a village outside of the city. At 8 pm that night, he first rented a three-wheeler to transport bombs to the Hardware Company dorm (五金公司宿舍) on 13 Dianda Street and 12th Hutong on Minjin Street (民进街12号院), as well as the Shijiazhuang Number 1 Construction (市建一宿舍) and Number 3 Cotton Mill (棉三宿舍) dorms. After a quick nap, he delivered more bombs to the latter two dorms with the help of another three-wheeler and a taxi. He then took multiple taxis to detonate the bombs one by one.[6][5]

The first bomb went off at 4:16 am and blew a hole in the walls of the 15 Cotton Mill dorm, which housed Jin's step mother at the time. Shortly after, the 16 Cotton Mill dorm, where Jin lived and had a bitter argument with a neighbor regarding splitting rooms, was completely leveled by the second bomb. The third bomb went off at 4:30 am, destroying a unit of the Shijiazhuang Construction company dorm, which housed Jin's ex. At 4:45 am, a unit of the Hardware Company dorm, which housed Jin's ex, was demolished by a bomb. The final explosion came at 5:01 am, at the 12th Hutong on Minjin Street, which Jin had inherited from his parents but had lost money selling the property. Fortunately, the bomb had only made a crater on the ground nearby. [7][8]


Jin Ruchao (C: 靳如超, P: Jìn Rúchāo), (December 7, 1960 - April 29, 2001) was blamed and arrested for planning and carrying out the bombings. Jin became deaf at age 8 due to an ear infection, and he since became silent and a loner. He was also subjected to constant bullying at school. He dropped out during middle school due to financial issues and worked in a textile factory among a plethora of other jobs. He had kept a diary, where he wrote that he was suspicious towards his family members, particularly his ex-wife, on whom he blamed his rape conviction in 1988. Jin also blamed traffic accidents that killed his mother and injured his father in 1994 on his ex-wife and her family. [9]

Following widespread public fear, the Chinese Government published a lengthy description of the bombings.[10] Jin was arrested in Beihai, Guangxi following a manhunt and a posted 100,000 RMB ($12,000) reward just 11 days after the bombing,[5][11] which had been doubled from an initial 50,000 RMB.[12]

Jin pleaded guilty and was sentenced to death. Also convicted were the three who supplied Jin. Wang Yushun, and Hao Fengqin were sentenced to death for supplying him with ammonia nitrate, while a fourth man received a suspended death sentence for selling him 50 detonators and fuses.[2][13] On 29 April 2001, Jin Ruchao, Wang Yushun, and Hao Fengqin were executed for their roles in the bombings.[14]


The attack was the biggest mass murder in China in decades.[15] China scholar Andrew Scobell described it as perhaps the worst terrorist act in the history of the People's Republic of China.[16] There were rumours that Jin was a scapegoat with no knowledge of explosives,[11] and that the blast could have been orchestrated by disaffected ex-employees who had been laid-off in China's restructuring.[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "China says 108 killed in blasts". BBC. 17 March 2001. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  2. ^ a b Kuhn, Anthony (April 19, 2001). "4 Sentenced for Blasts in China That Killed 108". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2012-10-01. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Hatred, Revenge Motive for Fatal Shijiazhuang Explosions". People's Daily. March 26, 2001. Archived from the original on August 18, 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  4. ^ Rennie, David (2001-04-18). "Four face execution for Chinese bombings but doubts linger". Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  5. ^ a b c Tang, Rose (March 27, 2001). "Bomber has confessed, China says". CNN. Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  6. ^ "石家庄3.16特大爆炸案反思录三". Xinhua. Archived from the original on 2019-10-07. Retrieved 2020-03-12.
  7. ^ "石家庄爆炸案恶魔靳如超供认作案经过". 广州金盾网. Archived from the original on 2010-09-05. Retrieved 2020-03-12.
  8. ^ "2001年3月16日 石家庄发生特大爆炸案 造成108人死亡38人受伤". Retrieved 2020-03-12.
  9. ^ "扭曲的心态--石家庄爆炸案主犯靳如超日记剖析". April 27, 2001. Archived from the original on August 18, 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  10. ^ ROSENTHAL, ELISABETH (March 28, 2001). "Beijing Publishes Detailed Account of Bombings". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  11. ^ a b c "China blast reward doubled". BBC News. 20 March 2001. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  12. ^ Bodeen, Christopher (18 March 2001). "Chinese police in search for bomber". The Independent. Retrieved 3 August 2010.[dead link]
  13. ^ "Apartment bomber executed". The Globe and Mail. 2001-04-30. Retrieved 2022-05-06.
  14. ^ "石家庄特大爆炸案终审宣判 元凶靳如超昨日伏法" (in Chinese). 2001-04-30. Retrieved 2009-06-08.
  15. ^ Gittings, John (20 March 2001). "Manhunt for mass killer fails to pacify Chinese". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 September 2021.
  16. ^ Martin I. Wayne, “China’s war on terrorism: counter-insurgency, politics, and internal security,” (New York, NY: Routeledge, 2008).

External linksEdit