The “Pigeon Bomb” Incident: Terrorism in China?

From Euro-Chinese News:

A “pigeon bomb” explosion — suspected to be a terrorist attack — occurred in Shenzhen […] on the morning of March 31st. A pigeon of unknown origins with a bomb died to it flew to the northwest corner of the News Center Building [信息枢纽大厦] near Futian and suddenly exploded. The bird died a cruel death, but there were no human casualties. Because the explosion was within 500 meters of a city government building, authorities suspect it was “an intentional incident.” They are keeping a tight lid on information [about the incident] and anti-terrorism experts from Beijing have already come to Shenzhen to investigate.

[…] According to our understanding, [the bird] was flying towards the News Information Center Wednesday morning, but when it got close to the target, the bomb exploded as it was cutting across the treetops [nearby]. Because the bomb exploded in the air, it wasn’t very powerful, and because it was around lunchtime there were few pedestrians, so no one was injured. A female worker in the market across from the N.C. Building said that she heard a loud sound as she was sweeping, but because there is a construction site nearby she thought it was the sound of construction and didn’t pay attention to it.

[…] When our reporter went to the News Center Building to investigate yesterday, Public Service and Public Order officers were tight-lipped on the “pigeon bomb” incident. Our reporter didn’t find any trace of an explosion; what was different from before was the number of PSB officers and patrols had increased. The atmosphere seemed tense.

Our reporter spoke with a representative of the Shenzhen Carrier Pigeon Society, who hadn’t heard of this incident, but said that although carrier pigeons all have registration numbers it would be difficult to prove the bird’s owner was a terrorist because the birds often visit other birds for mating, races, etc., and thus are handled by many owners. Even if it was a “pigeon bomb” it was probably a wild pigeon, as carrier pigeons can only find their way back from places [to their original homes]. Unless the troublemaker raised the carrier pigeon inside the News Center Building, and then released it outside somewhere [it is unlikely that the pigeon was a carrier pigeon].

[…] Anti-terrorism expert and the head of the China Modern International Reliations Academy Counter-Terrorism Center Li Wei said in an interview with this newspaper that the possibility that this was a prank or some kind of retaliation can’t be ruled out. As to whether the “pigeon bomb” incident can be called a new form of terrorist attack, it is difficult to draw a conclusion with the limited evidence available currently.

So what do you think? Terrorist attack? Prank-gone-wrong? Spontaneous pigeon combustion?

UPDATE: (Thanks to Danwei) The Shenzhen police are saying there was no bomb at all, just the sound of a dead pigeon hitting the ground. While we don’t really buy the terrorism idea, is Shenzhen really quiet enough that anyone would have heard a pigeon hitting the ground and confused it with an explosion (especially with construction going on nearby)?

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0 thoughts on “The “Pigeon Bomb” Incident: Terrorism in China?”

  1. “Anti-terrorism expert and the head of the China Modern International Reliations Academy Counter-Terrorism Center Li Wei said in an interview with this newspaper that the possibility that this was a prank or some kind of retaliation can’t be ruled out.”

    Actually this would be the FIRST thing I would think of when hearing about this. The knee-jerk practice we’ve known for a while in Western countries of calling any unusual violence “terrorism” is now fully integrated into the Chinese political world, it seems.

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  2. A reader has informed us that Shenzhen police are saying that there is no evidence of a bomb – the pigeon died in mid-air and the “explosion” was nothing more than the sound of it hitting the ground. Chalk it up to excitable passers-by and a credulous HK media?

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  3. Interesting. It’s hard to believe anyone would even hear the sound of a pigeon hitting the ground in China, especially if there was construction nearby. On the other hand, terrorists using pigeons seems pretty unlikely.

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