China arrests village head for arson: rights group

China: Police detained a village leader in northern China after he burnt government offices to the ground in a protest against corruption, leaving two people seriously injured, a rights group said.

Gao Jinhe, head of Beitai village in Hebei province, confronted local authorities in Chengde city on Sunday over “corruption and abuse of power”, according to the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy.

After getting into a row with officials, he poured flammable liquid into the complex and set it alight, starting a blaze that destroyed more than 20 offices, the rights group said in a statement released late Monday.

Two men suffered serious burns and were in a critical condition in hospital. Gao, who was also injured in the blaze, was taken away by police and his whereabouts are unknown, the group said.

Local authorities could not be immediately reached for comment.
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