Local officials in China’s Henan province demolished part of a hospital and its adjoining morgue, sending doctors, nurses and patients running for their lives. Approximately six bodies being processed at the morgue were buried in the rubble, reports said Friday.
The official Xinhua news agency reports that the hospital accused the government of demolishing the facility after the hospital failed to agree to a road expansion project. The incident buried six bodies in the morgue and damaged hospital equipment worth $600,000, according to the International Business Times.(1)
“Burying the remains of patients is enormously disrespectful to the dead,” a spokesman for the hospital, Zhang Yuan, said in a statement. “I never imagined anything like this would ever happen.”(2)
The Huiji district government information office claims in an online statement last Thursday that they forewarned the hospital that the facility’s CT room and adjoining morgue must be demolished. They state workers inspected the building to make sure it was vacant prior to tearing it down.
And the walls came tumbling down
Apparently, the workers didn’t look hard enough. According to sources, about 30 people wearing camouflaged suits ran to the building at 9:20 am and started destroying the hospital. Staff and patients inside the radiology department had to flee for their lives once the demolition started. Others stayed behind to try to save the hospital equipment.(3)
Calls made to an official at the construction bureau and the hospital’s information service were not answered Friday. Consequently, local officials ended up violating rules by forcibly destroying the hospital. Pictures of the Henan province hospital reveal collapsed walls and overthrown medical devices.
Forced demolitions are a recurring problem in China. Local governments have sought real estate and other development to help boost the economy. Clashes over land are commonplace in China, which often become hostile.
Xiong Zhiliang, a district official overseeing demolition work in the city of Zhengzhou, was fired because of the mishap. Police are currently conducting an investigation of the incident that took place last Thursday, according to China Central Television.(4)
The Huiji district government in Zhengzhou said he sent the bulldozer in after the hospital failed to respond to notices that its CT room and morgue had to be demolished in order to make room for the road project.
The district tried to defend itself by claiming the workers checked to see if anyone was inside the building prior to tearing it down. Three hospital staff were injured while trying to stop the demolition, and some admits had to be transferred to a different hospital in wake of the accident.
Similar incidents purported by Chinese government
Believe it or not, similar incidences have taken place in China. According to reports, three big ticket structures have been destroyed in China in the last two months. In Tianjin, for instance, a 210-meter high-rise apartment building was destroyed after the developer altered the building design map halfway.(1)
In Xi’an, Shaanxi province, a 118-meter high building that was finished in 1999 was decimated because the local government desired to build a different structure on the same land. And in Zhengzhou, Henan province, an overpass that was put to use four years ago was leveled to the ground because it intruded on the construction of the metro system.(1)
It’s believed that the hospital refused to comply with authorities to make room for the road expansion project. Police rushed to the scene of the crime, which is now under investigation. The hospital is currently closed until further notice due to severe damage. The local government has yet to release a statement about the incident. Police investigators are trying to determine whether their was a simply a miscommunication between the hospital and local government or a clash of wills.(3)