'Injustice' drove bomber to violence

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 May, 2011, 12:00am


Jiangxi bomber Qian Mingqi was twice the victim of forced demolitions - losing his savings, his wife and his hopes for life in a decade-long battle against social injustice.

The 52-year-old peasant turned petitioner triggered near-simultaneous blasts outside three government buildings in Fuzhou, between 9.18am and 9.45am on Thursday, losing his own life in one of the explosions. Two other people died in hospital and eight were injured, Xinhua reported yesterday.

But in the eyes of his neighbours, Qian was far from a violent man, and more of a victim who persisted in seeking redress. Many neighbours and fellow petitioners had no idea he had set off the bombs.

Qian's ordeal began in 1995 when his home was demolished by authorities to make way for a highway. Qian then saved up enough money to build a second home, but his dream of a happy life was shattered by a second forced demolition.

'Before the demolition in 2002, Qian put all his hopes on the second property, one of the most luxuriously decorated in the village,' a neighbour said yesterday. 'He wanted to live a comfortable life with his wife, two sons and a daughter.'

Qian's neighbours, whose houses were also demolished nine years ago, said the farmer's second house cost about 500,000 yuan (HK$599,000), but the authorities paid him only about half that in compensation.

'Because the authorities did not offer enough compensation, Qian was so angry that he hung slogans all over the five-storey building and resisted demolition,' a neighbour said.

They said Qian's wife was hung upside down by a demolition team and died a few years later from a gall bladder disease, making Qian even angrier. He later discovered that the land seized from him to make way for an expressway between Beijing and Fujian remained vacant.

From 2002, Qian began petitioning government offices in Fuzhou and Beijing. Two of the places he bombed were offices where he had petitioned often, although it remained unclear why he also targeted the local drug safety authorities.

Qian became a more seasoned campaigner over his years of petitioning, and he launched a microblog in November to seek public attention. After the explosions, the number of people reading his microblog leaped from about 2,000 to 32,000, before it was shut down yesterday.

In his blog he accused Linchuan district's party cadres of embezzling 10 million yuan in compensation funds after demolishing his house and the houses of seven other families - each of whom suffered economic losses ranging from 1 million to 2 million yuan.

Mainland journalists said there was obvious evidence of his bitterness at his home and in his microblog. 'Qian hung an enlarged picture taken in front of Tiananmen Square in the middle of his sitting room, with four huge Chinese characters that read 'the road of petitioning',' a mainland journalist who visited his home said yesterday.

Jiangxi television station producer Wu Yongjun said Qian hung three black-and-white couplets outside his shabby house saying: 'Happy new year is not happy. I want to seek justice but there's no justice; jackals and wolves are everywhere in Linchuan district in Fuzhou.'

On his microblog he wrote: 'My body and my mentality are normal, and so far I have not committed any criminal offence or illegal petitioning. It is only because my newly built home was demolished illegally that I incurred great loss. After 10 years of futile petitioning, I am forced to take a path I don't want to take.

'I want to learn with Dong Cunrui [a People's Liberation Army role model who carried an explosive package to blow up a bunker in 1948] and hope I can receive the public's support and attention.'