BEIJING – Bulldozers unexpectedly demolished part of a hospital and its adjoining morgue in central China, sending doctors, nurses and patients fleeing and burying under rubble six bodies being processed at the morgue, reports said Friday.
The official Xinhua News Agency reported that the hospital accused the local government of ordering the demolition work after failing to get the hospital to agree to it for a road expansion project.
The No. 4 Hospital of Zhengzhou University in Henan province said the unexpected demolition work Thursday morning buried six bodies stored in the morgue, caused nearly 20 million yuan worth ($3 million) of damage to medical equipment and injured several hospital staffers, according to Xinhua.
“Burying the remains of patients is enormously disrespectful to the dead,” the hospital’s deputy propaganda chief, Zhang Yuan, was quoted as saying. “I never imagined anything like this would ever happen.”
The Huiji District Government Information Office said in an online statement Thursday evening that they had asked the hospital in vain to demolish the CT room and morgue itself. It said workers had made sure there were no people inside the buildings before tearing them down, and there had been no casualties.
Calls to the mobile of an official at the construction bureau rang unanswered Friday, as did calls to numbers provided by the hospital’s information service.
Forced demolitions are a common problem in China as local governments have looked to real estate and other development to fuel economic growth.