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Relatives Speak Behalf of Young Victim of Forced Demolition Who Committed Suicide to Protest Attempts to Stop Her Petitioning Efforts

July 13, 2011

 

[Li Jiani suicide protest case] After her family home in Shanghai's Hongkou District was forcibly demolished on April 10, 2008, Li Jiani went into labor prematurely. The baby died soon after delivery. Li Jiani and her husband Ji Bin became homeless and began petitioning. On June 24, 2011, in an effort to stop them from petitioning, the Hongkou District government convened a “petition investigation” hearing that neither Li nor a legal representative was allowed to attend. Five days after the hearing, on June 29, 2011, Li Jiani, age 28, chose to end her life using charcoal smoke in a hotel room in Guangzhou. Li said in her suicide note that she chose Guangzhou “in order to broaden the scope of this Shanghai-based scandal, so that the government might correct it quickly!” She added: “I hope that my death can influence the central government to allow poor common-people like us to have their own housing! I hope that Shanghai’s corrupt officials will be justly punished under the law!” On July 13, Ji Bin and more than ten of their relatives went to the gates of the Shanghai municipal government to speak on behalf of his deceased wife. Many other petitioners joined in support of their cause.