A group of heartless fishermen discovered a body floating in the Jinsha River of southern Sichuan last week and demanded compensation of 18,000 yuan from the parents before they handed over their son’s corpse. Though the grieving parents were able to identify the body as their son, they could not afford the fee, so the corpse was left in the river for several days.
Deng Shuchao reportedly took his own life by jumping from a bridge in Panzhihua City on November 30 because of financial problems. He was a taxi driver, and just a few days before committing suicide, he told his parents he could not afford to renew his taxi contract fee of 6,000 yuan for the new year.
The body was found three days after Deng jumped, but it was left in the water for nearly a week while Deng’s parents attempted to negotiate with the fishermen. The father offered them 200 yuan each, which was not enough, according to the fishermen.
The couple pleaded with the fishermen but to no avail. The greedy fishermen argued that they were doing the couple a favor and deserved fair compensation, since it would be “bad luck” to pull a corpse from the river. Because of the fishermen’s “superstitions,” the body remained afloat in the river, tethered to a rock for three days.
Local lawyer Jiang Jian assessed the situation, claiming that charging the couple was perfectly fair, as the fishermen were not legally obligated to help.
After a police-mediated negotiation, the couple agreed to pay the fishermen 5,400 yuan. Deng’s father said he had to borrow money from relatives to make the payment. At last, they were able to cremate their son yesterday morning and can now prepare a funeral service.
Unfortunately, fishermen demanding finder’s fees isn’t all too uncommon in China.
By Mary DeMay