The Chengdu Self-Immolation
A demolition dispute ended tragically when tenant Tang Fuzhen set herself on fire and died. A translated CCTV report via Roland Soong at EastSouthWestNorth:
Tang Fuzhen was a 47-year-old woman in Jianhua community, Tianhui town, Jinniu district. About twenty days ago, she poured gasoline on herself and set fire during a demolition dispute.
The video taken by mobile phone was what happened twenty days ago. Tang Fuzhen stood on the rooftop. According to Jinniu District urban management law enforcement bureau director Zhong Changlin, he took his personnel to the address to demolish the illegal building belonging to the family of Tang Fuzhen. But Tang Fuzhen was completely oblivious to the orders and persuasions from the law enforcement personnel. She threw bricks, rocks, gasoline bottles at the law enforcement officers and she tossed gasoline firebombs at them. The stalemate lasted almost three hours until Tang Fuzhen poured gasoline on herself.
This three-story building was the former home of Tang Fuzhen. According to Jinniu District urban management law enforcement bureau director Zhong Changlin, this was an illegal building that was constructed in 1996. At the time, the private entrepreneur Hu Changming (the husband of Tang Fuzhen) paid 40,000 yuan in crop compensation and 10,000 yuan in rent to sign an agreement with the Tianhui town Jinhua community to build the house. But no land planning permit and plan usage approval had ever been issued. This illegal building is a brick-concrete house of about 1,600 square meters in area that is used for business purposes.
Truly a sad tale. One of the article subtitles later in the Mop piece (it’s quite long) got us thinking: “Violent enforcement of the law or violent resistance of the law?” We can’t help feeling as though perhaps one has bred the other here. One would have to be living under a rock not to have heard of instances where violence is used to “enforce the law” (i.e., get people out of their homes so they can be demolished). Violently resisting the law is less common, but if these two rooftop ladies are any indication, it might be getting more popular.
We can’t help wondering if this isn’t a case of “you reap what you sow.”