Qian Mingqi (钱明奇)
More details have emerged about the man responsible for the simultaneous bombings of three government buildings in Fuzhou City (抚州), Jiangxi Province (not to be confused with Fuzhou, Fujian) yesterday — and the story is a heartbreaking one.
The explosions took place one after the other between 9:18 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. — the first at the carpark of the prosecutors’ office, the second inside an administration building and the third near a food and drug administration office. Two were killed from the blasts, including the bomber himself, and another ten people injured.
The bomber has been identified as 52-year-old unemployed Fuzhou native Qian Mingqi (钱明奇), and the trail of internet activity he has left behind tells of a man who has been actively trying to seek redress for the loss of his property which he says was illegally demolished by authorities, causing him to lose over RMB2 million.
On his Sina Weibo profile, Qian has a picture of himself standing on Tiananmen Square. He describes himself thus in the About field: “I am healthy, mentally normal, and have never committed any crimes to date. My newly-built house was illegally and forcibly demolished, causing me massive losses. Ten years of fruitlessly trying to seek redress have forced me to go on a path I did not wish to take.”
Teaching himself how to use the internet, Qian also created multiple profiles on other microblog platforms, following lawyers, reporters, human rights defenders, academics, police departments and anyone else he thought might be able to help him.
The retweets on his various microblog profiles indicate that not only was Qian unable to get the attention of those he was following, he was exposed to many of the other injustices that go on daily in China — children getting kidnapped, old people attacked by police, migrant workers denied their wages, killing sprees in schools, and many other villagers, who like him, had their homes forcibly demolished.
Those stories appear to have led him to believe that unless he took drastic action for himself and others like him, his story would never see the light of day. And so, Qian began to hatch his plan to execute a protest in the most dramatic fashion he thought possible.
On his microblogs, Qian gave multiple hints as to what he was up to. In a recent posting (see right) timed May 25 just past midnight, he told his followers to be on the lookout for “explosive news” that was going to happen soon in Jiangxi. The cause of this incident, Qian said, is a man by the name of Xi Dongsen (习东森), the current mayor of Fuzhou’s Linchuan District, who in 2002 was the party’s discipline secretary for the district, responsible for overseeing the demolition and relocation projects in the area which amounted to RMB10 million. At the end of the post, Qian says, “I do not wish to be another Qian Yunhui or Xu Wu, but I want to use action to remove evil-doers for the people. Qian Mingqi beseeches you to share this post for justice after the incident!”
In a separate post, Qian said poignantly, “Even if I go to heaven, I’m going to take a few of my enemies along with me!” Qian also appears to have gained contact over Weibo with the Zhong family involved in last year’s self-immolation incident which took place in Fuzhou, but in a separate county called Yihuang. Qian’s contact with the Zhongs was likely to have heightened his sense of despair at the injustices taking place around him and further strengthened his resolve to do something dramatic.
The outpouring of sympathy for Qian online has been massive. His profile on Sina Weibo alone attracted over 25,000 followers overnight. Many have pored through his postings in an attempt to look into what went through his mind in the last few months. In their condolence messages left on his account, some netizens have called him a “hero of the people”, a “good person”, and a “real man who sacrificed himself for others”. Others have decried Sina Weibo moderators for their “inhumane” deletion of some of Qian Mingqi’s tweets, arguing that the man’s trail of internet activity should be left online.
The fear now is that more victims of injustices will be pushed over the edge when they see Qian Mingqi’s path as the only one that they can take. In a related incident just hours after the Fuzhou explosions, netizens on Weibo wondered aloud if a former policeman @羽蓝公子 would become a Qian Mingqi-copycat when he sent an open tweet to his lawyers that appeared to contain his last words. In it, he said he was giving up on his three-year search to seek redress for wrongful dismissal, and that they should speak up for him if anything untoward should happen to him. Hours later, the man reappeared on Weibo, confessing that the Qian Mingqi case had almost caused him to lose his rationality, and that his crying wife and daughter had found him by the lake, where he almost took his own life.
What a sad day this is for China.