East China officials sacked after self-immolation property protest

15:03, October 11, 2010      

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Provincial authorities in east China have sacked and replaced two county officials after three people set themselves alight in a property protest that left one dead last month.

The sackings in Jiangxi Province followed a protest on Sept. 10 as officials were planning to demolish a house to make way for the construction of a bus station in the Fenggang Township, Yihuang County, Fuzhou City.

According to a circular released by the city committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) at a conference Sunday, Qiu Jianguo, secretary of the CPC branch of the Yihuang County, and Su Jianguo, chief of the county, were removed from their posts Sunday.

Li Zhifu, former deputy chief of Jiangxi Provincial Statistics Bureau, had been appointed as the new secretary, said the circular.

The committee had nominated Mao Zongbao, former director of the management committee of Fuzhou's Jinchao Economic Development Zone, as county chief of Yihuang and the appointment would be decided by the People's Congress of Yihuang County, the circular said.

Qiu and Su were placed under investigation on Sept. 17 with six other county officials removed from their posts.

The tragedy occurred after workers from the local construction department visited Zhong Rukui's residence and tried to convince the family to accept the offered compensation.

Three family members appeared and began to threaten to douse themselves with gasoline and set themselves alight

Luo Zhifeng, Ye Zhongcheng and Zhong Ruqin then set themselves on fire and were taken to No. 1 Hospital Affiliated to the Nanchang University.

Ye, 79, died on Sept. 18 and the other two have been transferred to Beijing for further treatment.

A 2007 county government plan called for the relocation of more than 20 households for the construction of the bus station.

Zhong's family was not satisfied with the compensation of more than 400,000 yuan (59,000 U.S. dollars) and refused to move.



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