Date
18 October 2017
Jiangsu petitioners whose homes were demolished resort to desperate measures to attract media attention to their plight. Photo: Wen Wei Po
Jiangsu petitioners whose homes were demolished resort to desperate measures to attract media attention to their plight. Photo: Wen Wei Po

Seven petitioners attempt group suicide in Beijing

Seven petitioners from eastern China’s Jiangsu province attempted collective suicide by poisoning themselves in Beijing on Wednesday morning, Wen Wei Po reported.

Two women and five men lay down outside the office building of China Youth Daily in Beijing around 8 in the morning, and then each swallowed a bottle of pesticide. Shortly thereafter, police cars and ambulances arrived.

The seven were sent to three different hospitals, and three of them have been declared out of danger, the report said.

The seven were protesting against what they considered as insufficient compensation from the local government after their homes were demolished. They chose to attempt group suicide outside the newspaper offices to attract media support to their cause.

Cai Fuxi, one of the petitioners from Sihong county, wrote in a letter that he had filed a complaint with the provincial petition office about the unreasonable compensation. However, he was taken away by the local officer to the police station and was detained for 52 hours without any food and sleep in September 2013.

He was forced to sign a blank agreement before he was released, the letter said.

Zhang Chengmei, another petitioner, has been detained for eight days, according to her husband. She had made several attempts to file a petition, but local police officers have kept a close watch on her moves thereafter.

The petitioners have tried to sue local authorities for the demolition, but a local court refused to allow them to file a lawsuit.

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JZ/JP/CG

Freelance journalist

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