BEIJING -- A Chinese woman distraught about the planned demolition of her home set off a bomb during a meeting with local officials, killing herself and two others.
The suicide blast, relatively rare for China, took place Thursday morning near Zhaotong, a small city in China's remote Yunnan province. The woman had been meeting with a small group of low-level community officials to sign an agreement over her home, according to a newspaper based in Kunming, Yunnan’s provincial capital.
Forced demolitions have long been one of China’s most volatile issues, as officials expropriate land to build real-estate developments, boosting government revenue but often leaving former residents empty-handed.
Local authorities released a statement confirming the incident. The statement added a rescue team and investigation team were dispatched to the scene of the crime. It described the emotional state of the woman's family as “stable.”
The woman, whose name was not released, generated a surprising degree of support on China’s social networks. Many writers on Sina Weibo, China’s popular microblogging service, praised her violent actions for calling attention to the harm caused by forced demolitions.
“The government should wake up. Forced demolitions will not build a civilized and harmonious society,” wrote user Dong Dong-VV.
Hu Dengxin wrote: “The people can only use violence against violence. Salute to the brave ones!”
Others were more critical of her actions: “The ones who were killed in the bombing, they are just ordinary citizens,” wrote one commentator. “The ones who approved the demolition project and those who applied for the project can just sit around counting their money.”
Demolition cases in China often devolve into violent face-offs between residents and local officials. Self-immolations are common. On Wednesday, a 40-year-old woman from Guangzhou leaped to her death from a five-story building to protest the forced demolition of her home.
Last May, a disgruntled farmer in the southeastern Chinese city of Fuzhou detonated three homemade bombs near a local government office, killing two people and injuring six.
-- Barbara Demick