Father & Son Self-Immolation To Protest Forced Demolition

March 29, at Jiangsu's Lianyungang City N0. 1 Hospital, lying on a hospital bed is the 92-year-old villager Tao Xingrao who was injured in the Donghai self-immolation incident.

March 29, at Jiangsu's Lianyungang City N0. 1 Hospital, lying on a hospital bed is the 92-year-old villager Tao Xingrao who was injured in the Donghai self-immolation incident.

From Southern Weekend:

Jiangsu father son’s home still forcefully demolished even after setting themselves on fire. Officials declare that they were resisting the construction of a national highway.

In the morning of March 27th, two villagers in Huangchuan town of Donghai, Lianyungang City in Jiangsu province, set themselves alight with gasoline in desperation to safeguard their pig farm from being demolished by force by the town government. The son, 68-years-old Tao Huixi died, and his 92-years-old father, Tao Xingrao, was injured, “with half of the torso charred, and (the part) above the neck bloody”.

According to witnesses, they received no help from the staff carrying on the demolition. Nor did the demolition pause for this accident.

In the morning of 29th, a news conference was given by Donghai government on this accident. It was announced that two peasants, in resisting demolition and relocation, burned themselves, causing one death and one injury, and relevant departments and leaders have began handling the situation.

According to Li BaoFu, the spokesman of the Donghai government, 310 National Highway Redirection [the reason for this demolition and relocation], is part of the provincial highway upgrade project in JiangSu.  March 2009, following the highway planning, the People’s Government of HuangChuan town posted this announcement and sent the House Demolition Notification to all concerned households, as required by relevant regulations. August 13, 2009, the town government trusted a 1st-class real estate appraisal company to give an exact and formal appraisal on the concerned houses. The one of Tao Huixi was assessed as 75,004.36 RMB. Yet Tao Huixi thought this sum was too low and requested 500,000 RMB as the compensation, and later, raised the sum to 1 million. Afterwards, the town government had paid Tao several visits, attempting to talk him through, but of no avail. The other five houses concerned had all been demolished. But due to Tao’s resistance, the construction section in HuangChuan town has been hold for almost three months.

In this news conference, Li Baofu called this suicide-burning with one death and one injury a villager causality accident.

According to South China City News, Li confirmed that the demolition wasn’t stopped by their suicide. But he claimed that they didn’t demolish for the purpose of demolition, “the main reason is, after this accident, their house was severely damaged. The demolition was push on to prevent any incurring damage in the wake of the fire.”

According to Southern Daily, the Tao family established this pig farm in TaoLi Industrial Park, DongHai County, in 1995, with an investment of over 200,000 Yuan. They built the pig farm on a land occupying around 2 mu [1 mu = 0.0667 hectare], and settled themselves here also. Last year, the 310 National Highway was planned to pass through the TaoLi Industrial Park, Tao and another five households were on the demolition and relocation list. Before this, the other five households had already been demolished and relocated.

A demolished pig farm in Jiangsu province of China.

Yesterday, in Jiangsu's Donghai County Huangchuan town, a relative of the deceased stands on the ruins of their farm.

Tao YuQiu, son of the deceased Tao HuiXi, says though they were notified half a year ago that the National Highway 310 will pass through their pig farm, they were asked to move, with no compensation. His father reacted violently, “with the determination to die”. That time, the demolition failed.

Later, the Tao family began to complain to higher authorities, and got a confirmation that their farm wasn’t an illegal construction. Then HuangChuan town presented them with an appraisal report, their 2-mu pig farm could get 75,000 RMB as compensation. Tao HuiXi rejected this sum, and requested 500,000 RMB, later, changed it to 1,000,000 RMB.

Tao QiuYu says that they were informed by the town government several days back, saying “their pig farm wasn’t within the protection scope of the law, ” and the government has a free hand to decide the compensation sum”, besides, they were in a haste to demolish their farm before April 1st, otherwise, the demolition may never be completed. April 1st is the scheduled issuing date of a new demolition and relocation regulation.

The Beijing News reported, March 27, after the negotiation failed, and hearing that the town government had planned a forced demolition, Tao HuiXi prepared the gasoline, recording video clips for himself and his father, each holding a gas cylinder, claiming they will “Fight till their last breath”.

Tao Qiuyu says that at 7:40am that day, the Huangchuan demolition group, from several departments of the town government, with up to 100 persons, led by the town head Zhu Wenjun, arrived before Tao’s house.

Five or six persons tore Tao Qiuyu’s mother, wife and older sister away, tucked them into a van and drove away. Tao HuiXi and Tao XinRao locked the door from inside, and poured gasoline on the door. Around 8 o’clock, the staff continued to smash the door, and the bulldozer forced its way forward. Tao HuiXi poured gasoline on himself.

But “these people ignored him and went on smashing the door”. Tao HuiXi lit himself. Then “many of them rushed to quench the fire”. After the fire was put out, Tao HuiXi fell to the ground, but still alive. Tao XingRao was injured.

Those who came in to extinguish the fire found a quilt and covered Tao Huixi with it, then left him there yelling and writhing, till he finally became completely motionless.

Tao Qiuyu says that the demolition group ordered the village cadres to send Tao XingRao to the First People’s Hospital in Lianyungang City, and take away Tao HuiXi’s corpse. Some staff was ordered to remain and watch over the scene. Then the rest left.

Around 12, his mother, wife and sister were brought back one by one. They told Tao Qiuyu that they were being taken to a wild field. Their guards kept contact with the demolition scene over the phone. They were not freed until their guards received an order to “withdraw.”

Tao Qiuyu acknowledges that when his father and grandpa burned themselves, he wasn’t present. “My acquaintance in town told me to keep away; (otherwise) if they see me, I will be taken away as well, just like my mother and sister.”

As to Tao QiuYu, all these details on the scene are from eyewitness accounts. “But I can guarantee the truthfulness of my words, I can provide written testimonies of these witnesses,” Tao emphasizes, “I won’t slander.”

Comments on Southern Weekend:


Lu Xun [a famous writer in the 19’th century] once wrote about prisoners trying to follow Gandhi’s example and protest using hunger strikes. But the government then didn’t give a damn: They themselves won’t eat, it is not as if we don’t give them food, so if they starve to death, what does it have to do with us? Lu Xun then deplored the infeasibility of Gandhi’s method in China, and sighed at the naivety of these prisoners.

After so many years have passed, and now this tragedy happens, the demolition staff will also retort: They themselves wanted to burn themselves, it wasn’t as if we poured gasoline on them, nor was the first lit by us. So, this has nothing to do with us.


The people are under the yoke of the brutal government. Human right and democracy is still way way distant.


Bai Yansong [a CCTV host known for his outspoken style] once said: “China doesn’t have the right environment and conditions to allow its people to possess guns. If gun possession were allowed in China, I think forced demolition and relocation would no longer be possible.”


Many people know that China has a special characteristic called hospital wards for cadres. That is, if you are a cadre, you can have first class medical treatment. But if there is a day you happen to be injured badly in a car accident, without any ID to prove your identity, then what will happen when you are rushed to the hospital? At this time, you can only be received as we, ordinary people do. I believe only in these situations can a cadre see the true medical/healthcare situation of our country, and definitely not through those fake inspections and similar.

The same goes to demolition and relocation. Only when it happens to you, or to your relatives, or friends, you will exclaim: What! Isn’t this outright robbing! Don’t forget, even the emperors may someday be sent to guillotine.

Keep in mind, our largest happiness lies in equality and fairness. One may only understand this in his misfortune.


I hear that during forced demolitions, it is always a bunch of ruffians hired by the government.


A crazy country.


Reading this, I became tearful.


I truly have nothing to say.

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  • ZeroStarLouhu

    Jumps onto the sofa, I support those who fight to the death for what they believe

    • Daphie

      I think people should always fight for their right, unfortunately in China people are getting numb or institutionized, and they dont fight for it anymore.

      I dont support people set themselves on fire, but I guess they are not given a choice here. And if they dont go extreme, they will be just one of 100000000000 poor Chinese who are kicked out of their home, and there will be no stories to tell.

  • blaeh

    Nor did the demolition pause for this accident.

    Now was it self-immolation or an accident?

    Also, we can see people naturally like to stick to their private property, no communist indoctrination can change this.

    • GAC

      I was wondering about that translation myself. It seems that in one instance it’s accurate/justified, (“In this news conference, Li Baofu called this suicide-burning with one death and one injury a villager causality accident.”) but other cases I don’t see anything meaning “accident” in the text–one occurrance of “accident” was actually more like “self-immolation incident”.

      Perhaps “accident” should be changed to “incident” in most of these cases.

      [Not going to say anything about the secondary comment right now, except to say I don’t quite agree.]

      • Chen

        In chinese, the word’s direct translation is “accident”

    • Stinky Tofu

      It’s so unfortunate because if they were located around Shanghai, Beijing or any other large city they would have been over compensated and living in villas right now as opposed to being burned to charcoal. How unfair it is to be a rural peasant; at the mercy of the corrupt local government.

  • GAC

    Why exactly do you think it’s faked?

  • Woaihuan

    Guns… can you imagine what it would be like if Chinese could own guns?

    It would be anarchy.

    • in the words of the DMX “I resort to violence, my niggas move in silence, like you don’t know what our style is; [chinese] niggas the wildest!”

      thats what i think would best suit if china had guns for its citizens.

    • PING

      Guns, that’s good idea. Guns, liquor, firework and some hip hop. Lets create a place people don’t dare to go in every city, just like America. would we have M16 waving militia, oh that thing definitely going to warm us up.

  • Oh my goodness! Lianyungang! That’s my hometown! I know how important does the concept of “ancestral house” mean to them.

  • HawaiiKai

    Chinese = Animals

    • C

      chinese government/government demolition teams that dont give enough compensation money= animals

    • foxytoe

      yet the protesters themselves aren’t chinese?

    • bobiscool

      you = less than an animal.

      I truly feel sorry. Not only for the people who set themselves on fire, but for those who refused to help them and continued to demolish their property.

    • wow, hi. I am from Hawaii Kai too. And don’t you love the fact Hawaii is a great mixed pot of all ethnicities? obviously you don’t.

      Chinese = Animals

      If we are animals please stop eating chinese food, using chinese products and inventions. Obviously, you great piece of work belong in the stormfront.org blog and not here.
      Oh btw, GTFO of Hawaii, because in Hawaii you will be constantly surrounded by Chinese people.

  • Master C

    It was foolish of the Taos to inflict injury upon themselves. Fasting to death without the support of other citizens or sufficient international coverage is a waste of time.

    But the supposedly 1st grade local assessment company who short changed the Taos and Huang Chuan government’s actions in forced eviction was very disappointing. Who give these ratings anyway? Or are they a bunch of glorified thugs with links to government? An audit to prevent conflict of interest must be done. This could kill foreign investment substantially and discourage migrations into China which does not benefit a nation slated to be one of the world’s leading nations.

    CCP, please remember that the people are the country, and that you would not want this to happen to yourselves either. 好自为之 . . .

    Also if local citizens are not protected or compensated accordingly, who would want to move to China to make their home there? Especially early settlers who should be protected instead of forced off the land, which would make for no continuity in neighbourhoods or raise value of family heirloom homes.

    What happened to the nail house phenomenon? The Politburo who has the luxury of feeling at all, must address all cases like this before China’s reputation is smeared with increasing incidents, and I do not mean cover ups.

    There must be protection for ALL people especially those who have generated taxes and were not involved in criminal actions, as well as accountability from relevant authorities.

    • Mike Fish

      Master C… you always write about China as though you live on Mars.

      • Master C

        Giving face in comments/warnings is something important if you want a change for the better. Do you think insults or an attitude will make anyone inclined to improve?

        • Stinky Tofu

          Is there even such a thing as giving face on the internet? Wake up, the internet is for anonymous slandering and six-year old temper tantrums.

          • Master C

            ” Wake up, the internet is for anonymous slandering and six-year old temper tantrums. ”

            The internet is for everyone and every purpose, including anonymous slandering and six-year old temper tantrums which you seem to be advocating here.

  • Reflection
  • anon

    Yes because the best way to become a celebrity is by setting your son and yourself on fire. Idiot

  • Chen

    That is why they are stupid. Should instead burn the people who wanna to tear down their place, I am sure that they will stop

  • xyz

    In the past, there’s no civil world, because we(human) were not civil…
    Now it is ‘civil’ and we become animal

  • Here’s a hint for China, Korea didn’t become a Democracy because protesters set themselves on fire, we became a Democracy because they set other people’s shit on fire.

    It’s not really that hard to find out where someone lives, cut his throat and burn his house down. Setting yourself on fire is also brave but it doesn’t strike terror into the hearts of your enemies.

    • That Chinese Kid

      Here’s a hint for the REPUBLIC of Korea. Half a democracy. That’s what you are. Until you cut the throat of your Northern brothers and burn his house down, you will always be half a democracy. I highly doubt it will convince them though.

      China doesn’t need to condescend to barbaric levels to gain corrupted Democracy.

      • Why would you bash Korea for being half a Democracy when China (only thanks to Taiwan) is approximately 1/50th of a Democracy, or about 1/40th of a Democracy if you include Hong Kong.

        I know it’s not very trendy these days but terrorism and other forms of political violence can be a highly effective path to political change. As long as you limited your targets to corrupt government officials, police informants, the state press, etc, you’d be able to get a lot of public sympathy.

        If that dude who stabbed the random policemen can become a hero, imagine how the Chinese public would feel about revolutionaries who killed people that actually deserved to die.

        • IDK

          Do you really think stabbing one corrupt official who’s demolishing houses for his own profits would help the old man’s cause of keeping his home? Suppose it doens’t get censored completely and leaks, what will the sympathy of the other people do if commoners are powerful against the government. Another corrupt official will just replace him/her.

          Also, people from from Confucian societies have a hard time sympathizing with terrorism, which means it’s not a good tool for catalyzing change. Sun Tzu in the Art of War calls for Moral Law. If the people waging war against corruption are killing corrupt officials through acts of terror, then their own methods and conduct will taint the righteousness they had to being with.

        • Why would you support Democracy? When the laws, rules, and decisions of the country are left to old men influenced by black money? Corrupted fools who see nothing more than the green bills, and the power their seats in office brings. I bash not only Korea, but also Democracy. You say it like I support Democracy.

          Terrorism. As long as there is conservative old men in seats of power, as long as there is young men willing to shed blood, terrorism isn’t worth squash. What you say is contradicting, because terrorism and democracy is like yin and yang, yet you support both? The democratic way of dealing with corrupted officials would be majority voting them off. Terrorism and political violence is not a Democracy, its a form of Anarchy. This form of political change would not be accepted by the general public.

          In few peoples eyes(people being oppressed by policemen), that “dude” is a hero, in others eyes(the people not being oppressed by policemen) he is nothing but a murderer. Which is the majority, Democrat?

          • mosserie

            Which solution for China then to improve social right and to fight corruption?
            hummm…what about Social networking, web2.0? 338 millions of internet users, 14% growth in the last 6 months…isn’t it the dawn of a new era more democratic for China and Chinese people?.

            If we take the exemple of that sad story, maybe that guy could have explain his situation to people and gather help of others instead of being alone. Maybe it wouldn’t have been enough to save the house but at least it would have been possible for him to collect money by donation from the web and buy a new house…and save his life!. Maybe the action would have a been a great example for others to show that DEMOCRATIC ACTION ARE POSSIBLE in China. And maybe he could have been the sign for the party that they should start watching how they treat their own people because people are watching them now!.

            Nobody can stop that!. except if the governement decide to shut down the whole internet!

          • You are not worthy to think of a solution for China. You are naive, very naive. I read to the first line of the second paragraph and I was like…sentence and grammatical error! Then I stopped. Next time, don’t think so highly of yourself to solve China’s social and political problems.

  • Cross Rabit

    What a fucking government!They are always saying what like protect development.But what they really have done is just hurt!hurthurthurt and hurt!deapest hurt with the most beautiful reasons!

  • stargaterich

    This sad and tragic outcome reminds me of Avatar where people are force to evict from their homes. Anyway i guess the two guys should have give more deep thoughts to their actions because in the end it is their loved ones which get hurt even more. Those thugs who force their way through to demolish the house won’t give a damn whatsoever..

  • lolz

    There are two major followups to this story:

    1) The family was awarded 900k RMB.

    2) The County Manager was suspended after news broke out.

    • Daphie

      I hate reading **** like this. It happens everyday and everywhere in CHina – not self-immolation, but forcing people to relocate when they have nowhere to go, and they have been only compensated at a tiny fraction of their land’s value.
      I see above that the official being suspended. And then what? That does not bring back the lives of the victim.

      The only way to fix the issue is not firing one or one million corrupted and ignorant officials, but to educate them and educate everyone in China, that life of a farmer is also a life, it is not less than an official or businessman (whatever you want to call it). In China life is not precious, if a farmer dies, nobody will pay attention to it, many people just dont care.

      Education and free media is the only way people can realise everybody deserve equal right and respect.(Am I too socialist)

  • LOLZ

    I honestly do not think there is a way to fix the problem. The haves will always find loopholes so they can take advantage of the have nots, that’s why they have more to begin with. Education certainly helps, but often it’s the most educated who take advantage of the least educated.

    Education and free media will go a long way, but even in the US where you have both, Wall Street elites still end up stealing money from the average people.

    • Daphie

      You are too passimistic. People can be educated, for common people it is to learn their rights so they can fight for it, for elite class it is to learn to repect others. Nobody is born to be evil.

      For me wall street is a different level of stealing (the evil capitalists, hahahha), they are not stealing people’s chance of survival.

  • Z

    interesting re the point about ghandi. ghandi knew that non-violent resistance only works on a people who have inherent morality, i.e., the english. says something about china.

  • RR (China)

    He should not have burnt himself alone, he should have found the man who decided to destroy his home and hugged him while they both burned.

    That would send the correct message to the people who try to take your land.

  • Senor Boogie Woogie

    The government owns all the land in China. People can lease the land and build whatever, but after a time, the government can come back and tell the people to “get out” if the land is of value and would be worth more if developed into something else. Jiangsu is north of Shanghai and Zhejiang and is one of the wealthier provinces in the country.

    Communists taking land so that they can make more money. (only in China folks!)

    I’m sorry, but those two who burned themselves were stupid. What were they to gain from that? The government is still going to kick them out, and the money the family would have to pay to keep them in hospital is going to make them even more poor.

    In Hangzhou where I live, I have witnessed the destruction of several neighborhoods, including a beautiful one that was remade into a stupid park for tourists.

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