Denial of pension led suicidal man to set fire to bus in China
Beijing: The Chinese man, who set a bus on fire killing himself and 46 others in a suicidal act, was reportedly angry and dejected over officials apathy in granting him pension despite 56 visits to get it.
Before targeting the city bus with over 90 passengers in China's southeastern city of Xiamen, Chen Shuizong, 59, posted on microblogging site Tencent Weibo that he was not able to receive social security insurance because of an error by the police in recording his age. He complained that his problem was not treated seriously.
"I have been to the police station 56 times but they still haven't solved my problem," Chen's reported posting published in the state-run Global Times today said .
Several screenshots of a video circulating on Weibo - the Chinese substitute for Twitter, showed a man who was said to be Chen, dragging a plastic bag and walking on the street.
The bus was ignited with gasoline leading to an explosion. Investigation by experts and police showed the tyres and oil tank of the bus remained intact while most of its other parts were gutted.
The combustion improver was gasoline while the bus was equipped with diesel engine rising suspicion that it was not an accident, state-run CCTV reported. Chen reportedly carried the bag containing gasoline into the bus and ignited it.
The deadly fire killed 47 people, including Chen, while 34 others were injured.
Chen wrote on his microblog that he had been a street vendor since 1994 and had been bullied for years by urban management officers. He had recently applied for a pension, but was refused several times as the government said he did not qualify.
Chen's microblog was accessible till yesterday morning, but was blocked by afternoon.
The Nanfang Daily reported that Chen's house in the Fujian city's Siming district had been blocked by police as teams with sniffer dogs searched the scene. Chen's brother told the newspaper that Chen had petitioned the Xiamen government several times about his treatment.
It is not the first case in China in which a person who felt unfairly treated by authorities has targeted innocent passengers on public transport.
Arson attacks by disgruntled people took place in the past as a bus in Chengdu, capital of southwestern Sichuan Province, was set ablaze by an unemployed man with gasoline in 2009.
Twenty eight people were killed and more than 70 others injured in that incident.