JIANGXI, CHINA (BNO NEWS) – Eight officials on Saturday were removed from their positions as punishment for the poor handling of a property conflict that left an old man dead and two others injured after they set themselves on fire in protest, state-run media announced.
The three evidently committed the act in a form of protest on September 10 after confronting workers who had planned to demolish their homes to make way for the construction of a bus station in the Fenggang Township in Fuzhou City. Workers from the local construction department visited the home and tried to convince the family to sell their house in return for a compensation price of 400,000 yuan (,000). The family turned down the offer and refused to move out.
The three family members – Lou Zhifeng, Ye Zhongcheng, and Zhong Ruqin – appeared before the workers and begin to threaten the workers that they would set themselves on fire. They doused their bodies with gasoline and lit themselves on fire. The three were taken to a hospital, where Ye, 79, succumbed to his wounds and died.
The other two are being treated at a top hospital in the region, but it’s unclear what condition they are in. The provincial government has ordered an all out effort to save the citizens.
A 2007 county government plan has called for the destruction of over 20 homes to build a bus station that is planned to be built in the area. Eight officials, including the party Chief of the county, were suspended from their posts as a form of punishment for letting the situation get out of hand.