Thursday, July 17, 2014

Shocking Group Suicide Attempt Brings New Attention To Illegal Land Seizures in China

There is renewed attention being brought to illegal seizures of homes and land across China after a Chinese family staged a gruesome mass suicide attempt by drinking pesticide outside the offices of a major Beijing newspaper.

The group of five women and two men were seen foaming at the mouth outside the headquarters of the China Youth Daily newspaper. They had tried to kill themselves in protest against local officials who threw them off their land and bulldozed their homes.

A newspaper employee named Bo Tuan was on his way into work when he saw the protest. "I heard them shouting for justice and didn't really pay much attention but then they pulled out plastic bottles and gulped down the contents before clutching their throats and collapsing to the ground. It was shocking to see, they were frothing at the mouth and choking and then all of them just lay there still," he told reporters. Ambulances arrived quickly at the scene and took the victims to hospital for treatment.  Four have recovered and three remain in critical condition.

The seven were left homeless when their family home in the eastern province of Jiangsu was demolished five years ago and were never given any compensation in return. Despite handing out posters and leaflets in a bid to garner support for their case, they failed to generate any means of supporting themselves.

The group then decided they would head to the capital where they staged the demonstration outside the offices of official newspaper of the Communist Youth League of China. The group said that they were not prepared to carry on living without recognition for the wrong done to them, and that without death there was only dishonor.

Naturally, the Chinese government only decided to take action when they were publicly shamed into doing so. Beijing officials say they are now looking into the complaint of the seven, and discussing it with local officials to find out exactly what happened with the alleged illegal land acquisition.

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