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Killing of Two Demolition Officials by Chinese Veteran Farmer Wins Public Sympathy

Fan's head was broken

Human rights lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan uploaded Fan's trial photo on Weibo. He and his family were attacked by demolition officers and his skull was fractured.

The arrest of an old farmer who fiercely resisted forced eviction in the east China city of Suzhou has provoked an outcry on China’s social media.

Local newspaper Southern Metropolis Daily reported that Fan Mugen, a 64-year farmer and veteran, killed two demolition officials with a knife after he, his wife and son were beaten in a suburb of Suzhou, a city near Shanghai, on 3 December 2013. Many netizens on China’s Twitter-like Weibo argued the killings could be justified as self-defense and cautioned Fan would be sentenced to death.

More than fifty lawyers and citizens across the country went to the hospital [zh] to see Fan’s injured and detained wife but were blocked by numerous policemen on December 22.

Southern Metropolis Daily said [zh] Fan’s home is the only one left unmoved in his village due to disagreement about reduced payment. He began to petition in 2004 and has gone to Beijing twice to petition this year. Fan has left a testament to being forced to sign the demolition agreement in November. Fan is also a Communist Party member.

It reminds many netizens of the death penalty of Xia Junfeng, a street vendor convicted of killing two chengguan, or urban-management policemen, and executed in September despite public calls for leniency, disappointing many legal activists who said the country's justice system fails to protect the underprivileged and punishes them too harshly. Many people argued Xia’s behavior should belong to self-defense for he had suffered brutal beating.

The citizen rights center of Suzhou updated netizens on the latest developments via its Weibo account:

律师和公民五十余人来到苏州市高新区人民医院探望范木根的妻子顾盘珍,范木根因反抗入侵者保护家人正当防卫刺死两名入室行凶者,现被以故意伤害罪名刑事拘留,范妻被入侵者打断胳膊正在住院治疗。苏州辅警在医院列队 严阵以待!!

More than fifty lawyers and citizens go to see Gu Panzhen, Fan Mugen’s wife, in the People’s Hospital of High-tech Zone, Suzhou. Fan has been arrested for intentional injury after he killed two attackers to protect family. Gu is treated in hospital after her arm was broken by the intruders. Suzhou auxiliary police are lining up at the hospital!

Human rights lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan explained the background of Fan's family and hinted that the incident is an act of self-defense:

“2013”年度人物候选人:范木根,苏州农民,年轻时在内蒙古参军。因房屋被强拆,他在2013年10月底出外躲藏一个月。2013年12月2日回到家中。2013年12月3日,拆迁公司人员又到家中逼迁。他在头部被打破,儿子头部被打伤,妻子右手骨头被打断时,拔打刺死两名逼迁人员。这是今年最大的一起血迁事件。

Candidate for the person of the year 2013, Fan Mugen, a farmer of Suzhou, joined the army in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region when he was young. He had been out of his home for a month to avoid demolition since the end of October and went back home on 2 December. On 3 Dec the relocation company staff went to Fan’s home again to force him to leave. He killed two intruders when his head was fractured, his son’s head was injured and his wife’s right hand was broken. It’s the largest bloody demolition this year.

Independent writer Wang Qingfu argued that Fan is a hero:

范木根,典型的正当防卫。范木根是不畏强权的英雄!

Fan Mugen's is typically justified defense. He is a hero for resisting power!

Weibo user, “Jiang Nan school kid” echoed Wang:

苏州范木根是一个了不起的军人!当老范面对暴徒,三刀两命。有多少人拍手称快?有多少人从内心里佩服老范的勇气!他做了许多人想却不敢做的事情。全国掀起了新一轮范木根无罪浪潮!因为他们很多在拆迁中都体会到那种无奈与绝望。拆迁办的黑社会化,政府的推皮球,公安的冷漠。

Fan is a great soldier. He dared to kill two mobsters with a knife. Many people applaud his action! Many people respect his audacity of heart! He did what many people want to but dare not do. Many victims in forced evictions have felt desperate when confronting the triad-like demolition office, buck-passing of the government, and the indifference of police.

Yang Cuifang urged the public to pay attention to the incident:

关注。关注这个保护妻儿保卫家园的血性汉子。关注这个时代里草民抗暴事件以及这起事件最终的走向。见证每一个个体活在当下的不易

Pay attention to the courageous man who tried to protect his wife, children and home. Pay attention to grassroots anti-violence and the trend of this issue. Witness the toughness of every person’s living.

Forced demolitions have been a deeply divisive issue in China in recent years. Local governments rely on land sales for a significant portion of their revenues, creating a big incentive to push out homeowners and small businesses for redevelopment projects.

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