One Man’s Search for Justice leads to Violence in Jiangxi Province

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On the morning of May 27th, three government buildings in Fuzhou, Jiangxi Province, were bombed simultaneously in explosions that killed the bomber, one bystander and wounded ten others. The subsequent investigation of the explosions has revealed the bomber as a man named Qian Mingqi, a 52-year old native of Fuzhou City driven to the edge by a fruitless ten-year search for justice after his home was illegally demolished by the authorities.

After the destruction of his home, which he claimed caused him a loss of over RMB 2 million, Qian taught himself to use the internet, where he sought out lawyers, reporters and human rights advocates amongst others who he hoped would help him in his fight to gain compensation for his losses. Unfortunately, he was not only unable to find a defender for his case but through the course of his search became exposed to the many other injustices facing Chinese across the nation. Some stories were similar to his, like the self-immolation of the Zhong family in 2010, where several family members set themselves aflame to protest the government’s demolition of their home. His online profile indicates that he also became aware of a plethora of abuses, such as the mistreatment of migrant workers, kidnapping of children, police brutality and forced relocation across the country.

Since the bombings, there has been a startling wave of online sympathy for Qian, and concern for the mistreatment which eventually drove him to such violent acts. Although there is the fear that others who are similarly frustrated by their quests for justice will turn to criminal acts, we can also point to evidence that there have been many peaceful paths that citizens have taken in order to see their grievances redressed and justice served. The incisive documentaries Meishi Street, Before the Flood 1 and Before the Flood 2 are all evidence of communities banding together to protest the unjust loss of their homes and lack of adequate compensation by documenting their struggles and engaging in acts of civil disobedience. Although, like Qian Mingqi, they are also ultimately unable to save their homes, their voices contribute to the growing dissatisfactions expressed by the many communities left behind in China’s rapidly industrializing landscapes.

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