Chinese Man Sets Himself on Fire to Protest Eviction

Xi Xinzhu, a Beijing resident, set himself on fire after protesting the demolition of his home. Earlier this month, CDT also reported the death of Tang Fuzhen, a Chengdu resident who also resorted to self-immolation in a property dispute. From Telegraph:

In the second incident last weekend, a Beijing man named in local newspapers as Xi Xinzhu set himself on fire after he refused to leave his home in a north-western suburb which had been earmarked for demolition under a village “improvement scheme”.

According to a report in the Beijing Times, Mr Xi had already suffered a fractured leg when he was beaten by “unidentified men” – violent intimidation is commonly reported in such cases – and was lying on a sofa when the officials entered.

After pouring petrol over himself, Mr Xi took out a lighter and threatened to ignite himself. “Neglecting his warning, the relocation people even said ‘go ahead, light up.’,” his wife told the newspaper.

Although the flames were swiftly put out, Mr Xi suffered 10 per cent burns to his face, hands and body and is in a critical condition in a Beijing hospital, the report concluded.

Xi Xinzhu holds a U.S. green card, and his wife and daughter are both U.S. citizens. They have decided not to seek counsel from the U.S. Embassy. From Global Times (h/t Danwei):

A Chinese-American whose husband set himself on fire protesting the demolition of their home said that she is unwilling to seek assistance from the US embassy, believing that Chinese law should handle this domestic matter.

Long Shufang, a US citizen, said her husband, Xi Xinzhu, who holds a US green card, is still in critical condition and is unable to move or speak. Their house was demolished right after Xi was taken to the hospital.

Now the other four family members are living in four different temporary shelters. “Our family was basically torn apart,” Long said. Despite her citizenship to the US, Long does not plan to seek help from the US embassy.

Long said she refuses to seek help from the embassy because she does not want people think she takes the advantage of being an American citizen simply to solve a domestic issue.

Xi’s daughter is also a US citizen. She immigrated to America when she was 9 and is now in her 20s.

December 17, 2009 11:12 PM
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Categories: Law, Society