Caixin
Sep 14, 2010 08:07 PM

Fiery Attempted Suicides in Demolition Clash

At last word, the victims who tried to stop crews from tearing down their home were listed in critical condition at a Nanchang hospital. Relatives said they had decided to commit suicide by fire because they could no longer bear the pressure from the Yihuang County local government.

They were identified as Zhong Ruqin, 31, her mother Luo Zhifeng, 59, and Zhong's 79-year-old uncle.

Police were on the scene when the distraught family members set themselves on fire at the three-story home inhabited by an extended family. One fell to the ground in flames.

Local officials blamed the victims, saying they had actually injured themselves while pouring gasoline at the site and threatening demolition workers.

One month before the incident, the local government had ordered the forced demolition of a neighboring house owned by the Zou Guohong family. So far, a compensation agreement with the relocated household has not been settled.

Caixin learned the local government organized 185 staff members in 11 departments to plot the forced demolition of each house.

The work plan also stressed the need "to enhance the monitoring of Zou Guohong and his relatives. If they overreact to the demolition, then take them from the scene and take compulsory measures if necessary."

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