A man who set off homemade explosives inside Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport last June has been sentenced to eight years in prison by a local court.
The court found that Zhou Xingbai, a 30-year-old migrant worker from Guizhou province, did not have any religious or political motives for his attack. Instead, Zhou’s problems appear to be personal. He told the court that he had become depressed after his sister blamed him for their father’s deteriorating health, and began contemplating suicide.
Earlier, Shanghai police also pointed to Zhou’s gambling problems which had left him heavily in debt. Before the attack, he wrote on WeChat that he was “preparing to do something completely crazy that I will not survive.”
Zhou had made explosives by emptying gunpowder from fireworks into three empty beer bottles. On the morning of June 12th, he boarded a bus from his temporary home in Kunshan, Jiangsu province to Shanghai with the bottles.
At around 2:30 p.m., he entered the airport’s T2 building, lit the three bottles and tossed them toward a crowd of passengers lining up for check-in. Two of explosives went off, injuring three people and causing the airport to erupt into chaos.
In the aftermath, Zhou attempted to kill himself by slashing his own neck with a knife. Before he could do so, he was grabbed by police.
Zhou said that he had chosen to set off the explosives at the Pudong airport for “maximum impact” as it was a busy airport with international travelers.
According to police, Zhou comes from Tongren in Guizhou province. After graduating high school in 2006, he moved around southern China from job to job, before finally ending up as a worker in an electronics factory in Kunshan.
A psychological evaluation showed no signs of mental illness.
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