Saturday, 20. December 2014
17. 07. 14. - 16:00
A Chinese family allegedly forced off their land by developers and never paid any compensation staged a mass suicide by drinking pesticide outside newspaper offices in the capital Beijing.
The seven people, five women and two men, from the eastern province of Jiangsu, had unveiled posters and handed out fliers saying that five years ago they were ordered to get off their land. Although initially managing to hold out, when all their neighbours had gone the developers had simply moved in and bulldozed all the properties away, leaving the family homeless and with no means of supporting themselves.
After getting frustration with local officials for not looking into the case, all seven had agreed that they would head to the capital where they staged a protest outside the offices of the China Youth Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Youth League of China.
According to police, the seven had 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 dishonour.
Bo Tuan works at the newspaper and was on his way into work when he saw the protest. He said: "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 floor. It was shocking to see, they were frothing at the mouth and choking and then all of them just lay there still."
Security guards called medics and ambulances were quickly on the scene to take all seven to hospital. According to doctors four of the seven are now out of danger, but the other three are in a critical condition and may not survive.
Beijing officials are reportedly 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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