Wheelchair-bound petitioner blows himself up in meeting with officials

Wheelchair-bound man injures 6 officials after years of failed compensation claims

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 September, 2012, 8:48am


A wheelchair-bound suicide bomber killed himself and injured six others yesterday while in a meeting with local government officials to air his grievances.

The man, who police identified as 49-year-old former construction worker Qu Huaqiang, had spent years petitioning for extra compensation for a work-related spinal injury he suffered in a crane accident in 1994 that left him partially paralysed.

Qu's desperate act in Tengjia, a township in Rongcheng in the eastern province of Shandong , was the latest in a string of violent protests by petitioners who failed in attempts to seek redress with the authorities.

Police said in a statement that Qu's wife and child had left him and he was upset because his older brother did not spend enough time with him. It also said Qu had often expressed a desire to "take revenge on society".

In February 2008, Qu wrote on his blog about how he thought he was coerced into signing a compensation agreement without being told of updated regulations that would have entitled him to more money. He said years of petitioning had fallen on deaf ears.

He also wrote in a local online forum in 2007 that he could see justice being realised only with explosives.

Yesterday morning, a young man - who is mentally retarded, according to People's Daily - pushed Qu in his wheelchair into the office of the township government, where he detonated home-made explosives while with the town's deputy party secretary and police chief.

Yu Jianrong, a professor who studies rural development at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Qu's case offered further proof that the petitions system is detrimental to the rule of law and makes it easier for officials to shun their responsibilities, which can trigger violence.

In May, two villagers in Yunnan province hired Zhao Dengyong to unknowingly carry a bomb into a resettlement office in Qiaojia county. Four people, including Zhao, were killed, and 16 others injured in the explosion.