Monday, 22 July 2013

Desperate Times, Desperate Measures

A screen shot of Ji Zhongxing before detonating the bomb
Two days ago a man set off a homemade bomb in the arrivals section of Terminal 3 in Beijing Capital International Airport.

He was in a wheelchair and just before he detonated the explosive, he warned people to get away from him to avoid deaths or injuries.

It was a terrible, violent statement in his desperation for justice, that resulted in the amputation of his arm.

But now security officials in Dongguan have been ordered to reopen the case into an alleged beating eight years ago that left then motorcycle taxi driver Ji Zhongxing paralyzed.

On his Weibo account, Ji claimed security officials beat him when he allegedly tried to evade a random security check while driving a motorcycle taxi. After the explosion, Dongguan officials stated that in March 2010, police had given Ji 100,000 yuan ($16,280) as compensation and that he had promised to drop any claims.

Ji's older brother, Ji Zhongji confirmed accepting the money. "We accepted it only when they told us that the money was intended to help us, and signed our names on a sheet of paper," he said, adding they didn't know what exactly was written on the paper because he was illiterate, while Ji Zhongxing could only read a little bit.

"We were then surprised when the officials warned us, as they held the paper in their hands, that we could make no further petitions. Otherwise we would have to bear full responsibility for anything that happened later."

From the other brother's account, it sounds like the two were taken advantage of because they were uneducated and didn't understand what was going on.

There is no doubt public sympathy has swayed in Ji Zhongxing's favour, but the fact that he had to get attention through a violent act shows how desperate people are.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has been talking about the "Chinese Dream". Does it include Ji and his terrible plight? There are many, many more people like Ji, which has led to one Caixin reporter have a guilty conscience in feeling like she hasn't done enough to represent ordinary people.

If the Party wants to remain in power, it needs to look after its people; battling corruption, or at least the semblance of it is not enough. Otherwise we are going to see more airport bombers and self-immolators, random killings and suicides.

Is this what the Communist Party wants on its track record?

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