Petitioner sets off blast at govt office, killing self

Updated: 2012-09-04 07:40

By Jin Haixing and Wang Huazhong (China Daily)

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An explosion in a local government seat in Shandong province killed one person and injured six others on Monday, local authorities said.

The blast happened in the Tengjia township government compound in Rongcheng, Shandong province, at 8 am.

The bomber - Qu Huaqiang, a native of Tengjia - set off self-made explosives, the Rongcheng government was quoted by Xinhua News Agency as saying on Monday.

Qu died at the scene.

Xinhua reported in its micro blog that Qu allegedly made the explosion because his petition to higher governments was blocked by the local government.

Qu, who was partially paralyzed due to a construction accident, petitioned several times since his compensation began in 2004, the Rongcheng government said on Monday.

In China, petitioning, or shangfang, known as appealing to the higher authorities for help, is the administrative system for hearing public complaints and grievances.

The case was the third death in the country within a month among residents who had disputes with local governments.

On Aug 22, a villager named Zhu Zhongzhou, 62, died after he jumped from a building in the seat of Liansi township government in Henan province. The local authorities said that he was dissatisfied with compensation he received for the demolition of his house.

The local government decided to compensate Zhu's family after his death, Xinhua reported.

In Hunan province, a man named Liao, 44, jumped from a building of a real estate project in Changsha, capital of the province, on Aug 27. He died at the scene, according to a report in People's Daily.

Liao's death was also attributed to the dispute over the compensation for the demolition of his house.

He Bing, professor and associate dean of the law school at China University of Political Science and Law, said the growing number of petitioners who are resorting to extremism is the result of intensifying social conflicts and new communication technologies that give more exposure to such cases.

Legal experts said the role of the administrative petition - by letters and visits - should be weakened in easing conflicts. Instead, the legal system's role on the regard should be enhanced.

An executive meeting of the State Council adapted the latest version of Regulation on Letters and Visits in 2005. It asks government officials to investigate and solve petitioners' problems.

He said courts in China heard and concluded only about 136,000 administrative cases last year. Petitioners filed several million petitions regarding administrative departments every year.

Yu Jianrong, a professor of rural development at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the petition system needs to be improved.

Yu suggested the system's function should be only an information channel rather than an enforcement agency.

"Let courts judge and solve the problems and conflicts. If the courts can't do this well, this is another issue that we can find ways to improve," Yu said.

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