Chinese grandmother 'dies in self-immolation'

Woman, 81, sets herself alight in protest over planned demolition of her home, according to Chinese media reports.

    An 81-year-old woman died after setting herself on fire in protest over the planned demolition of her home, according to Chinese media reports.

    Wang Liushi set herself alight on November 3 after workers arrived to pull down her home in central Henan province following a demolition order by local officials.

    Local officials said the house had been illegally constructed, according to the Caijing financial magazine, but the Beijing Times said Wang's home was cited for demolition to make way for a tunnel project.

    The case is one of several recent reported self-immolations related to property seizures in China. Some of the most passionate protests in the country have been against local officials who have taken people's houses, often with little or no compensation, to make way for development projects.

    Wang's son, Wang Haorong, told the Southern Metropolis newspaper that officials from Zhengzhou city council, the Erqi Law Enforcement Bureau and a demolition team of about 300 people came to the family's home on November 3 to see it demolished.

    The paper said Wang's son and daughter-in-law climbed onto the roof and poured gasoline over themselves in a bid to stop the demolition team. The daughter-in-law said she heard a loud noise and saw heavy smoke coming out of Liushi's room.

    A Communist Party official in Zhengzhou confirmed Wang's death, but said it was a "fire accident", according to The Associated Press news agency.

    The official, who would give only his surname Jia, said the family told police that they were storing gasoline because they had a generator. He said 16 firefighters rushed to the scene, extinguished the fire and found Wang's body.

    Caijing and Southern Metropolis said the victim's son and daughter-in-law were detained for 10 days for disturbing public order.

    Southern Metropolis added that six family members were initially detained over the death, including her granddaughter and two-year-old great-grandson, who were released the same day.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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