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Beijing Airport 'Bomber' In Court On Stretcher
The one-day trial of a man who detonated a bomb at Beijing's international airport has taken place in the Chinese capital.
Ji Zhongxing, who is in a wheelchair, set off his homemade device at the arrivals hall of Beijing's International Airport on July 20.
He is accused of endangering public safety but claims the bomb was detonated accidentally.
He arrived at Chaoyang People's Court in the Chinese capital this morning in an ambulance and was stretchered into the courtroom.
During the trial, which lasted for three hours, he was shown the amateur video footage of the moment his bomb exploded.
In the footage, Ji is seen in his wheelchair sitting just outside the doors where arriving passengers emerge. He argues briefly with a policeman before the bomb explodes.
Remarkably, no one died. Ji himself was badly injured. However, he was already paralysed having been beaten up, allegedly by police, in 2005.
Eight years of being ignored had driven him to this extreme form of protest.
Outside court, which was closed to foreign media, his lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan explained his defence.
"The reason he brought a bomb to the airport was to draw attention to his case eight years ago when he was beaten and paralysed," Mr Liu told Sky News.
"He was holding the bomb but not to commit suicide or even to detonate. When the police arrived, he detonated the bomb by accident."
Ji's father and brother had travelled from Guangdong Province in China's far south for the trial. They were visibly upset as they spoke to us.
"For the past eight years, I have been looking after him since the police paralysed him ... Nobody cared about him," his father said.
"I want the people who beat my brother to receive punishment for what they did. Our family is broken. My brother was about to get married. They broke my family," Ji's brother added.
The family are yet to receive any justice for Ji's beating. Instead, they watched in court as he was tried for his crime.
Outside, a small gathering of people used Ji's case and the presence of the media to highlight their own tragic stories.
Known as petitioners, they travel from all corners of China to the capital in the hope that someone, perhaps the central government, will listen to their grievances.
"Injustice, injustice ..." one tiny elderly woman screams. She is pulled away by man in a green T-shirt; a plain-clothes policeman.
All of them have their stories written down. One carries a photo of her daughter in her hand.
She says her daughter was raped and murdered, and the police, she claims, did nothing.
Another tells us her family house was pulled down by the authorities, a familiar problem in China as land is cleared for new housing.
The woman says her relative was killed in the process.
"We just want our rights," she tells me.
The formal verdict is expected later but Ji will be sentenced in the coming weeks. He will almost certainly be jailed.