Blast near U.S. Embassy in Beijing Caused by 'Suspected Firecracker Device' say Chinese Police
Smoke rises in the vicinity of the blast in front of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing (Photo: Twitter, ananthkrishnan)

Beijing police have called the explosion outside the U.S. Embassy in China’s capital city as being cause by a "suspected firecracker device" which caused a fire. The bomber injured his hand during the incident, but there was no danger to his life or anyone around him and he was immediately taken into custody.

Video and images posted on social media show smoke rising from the vicinity of the embassy in the heart of the Chinese capital with crowds gathering. The loud sound was also heard several blocks away. State media outlet Global Times tweeted that local residents had heard a "thunder-like bang".

A statement from the U.S. embassy in Beijing said a device, which they described as a bomb, had exploded at around 1300 local time at the south-east corner of the compound. A US embassy spokesperson said: “According to the embassy’s regional security officer, there was one individual who detonated a bomb. Other than the bomber, no other people were injured, and there was no damage to embassy property.”

Beijing Police gave the perpetrator/victim’s surname as Jiang, and said he was from the Inner Mongolia province but did not offer any more information about the possible reason for the setting off the explosive device. The police also denied that the fire, smoke and sound was from a bomb.

Most mentions of the explosion have been tightly censored and removed from China's social media site Weibo, including a large number of personal accounts.

Speaking during his daily press conference, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang said the explosion was an "isolated security incident." "Chinese police have dealt with it in a timely and proper manner," he told journalists.

The U.S. Embassy in Beijing, which opened in 2008, is one of the most secure in the world, with state of the art technology and a heavy security presence.