At least three officials were killed and three were injured when a retired worker carrying bottles of petrol ran into a conference room at a water supply company in Hunan province yesterday and set fire to a group of Communist Party officials.
China News Service reported that the attack happened at around 10.05am when members of the Shaoyang water supply company's party committee were having their regular weekly meeting on the sixth floor of an office building.
Shaoyang's propaganda authorities said retired worker Shi Yanfei , furious after the company failed to give one of her sons a job, burst into the conference room, spilled petrol on the party officials and ignited it. Shi then jumped from the building and died later in hospital.
Xinhua said three other officials were injured besides the three killed. The authorities said it was not clear how many people were in the room.
Lu Qun , a Hunan party official, said the water supply company's party boss and general manager Long Xinmin , deputy party boss Shao Jiaping and deputy manager Rao Xiaoyang died at the scene.
China News Service quoted Shaoyang propaganda officials as saying Shi was angry because the water company had only given one of her two sons a job.
Lu said Shi suspected the company's party officials had given the other position to an acquaintance rather than her son. At state-owned companies on the mainland, it is still common for children to inherit their parents' positions when they retire.
Calls to Shaoyang propaganda authorities, police and the water company went unanswered yesterday.
Although some mainland internet users sympathised with Shi, saying she must have encountered a great deal of injustice in her negotiations with party officials, others criticised both her and her victims as representatives of the vested interests entrenched by the hereditary system in state-owned companies.
Some workers in Shaoyang said that positions inherited from parents enabled young workers to unfairly enjoy higher salaries and more favourable pension schemes than those recruited publicly.