Chinese official is fired after overseeing demolition of hospital with people still inside


Local officials in a central Chinese province violated rules in forcibly demolishing part of a hospital, sending medical staff fleeing and burying under rubble six bodies being processed at a morgue, the state broadcaster CCTV said Sunday.

Xiong Zhiliang, a district official overseeing demolition work in the city of Zhengzhou, was fired, while local police were further investigating the incident that took place on Thursday, CCTV said.

Forced demolitions are common in Chinese cities, where local authorities turn to real estate development to fuel economic growth. Clashes over land are frequent, and some turn deadly.

The No. 4 Hospital of Zhengzhou University has accused the local government of ordering the demolition after failing to get the hospital to agree to a road expansion project.

The hospital management also complained to state media that it was extremely disrespectful for the demolition crew to bury the dead in the rubble.

The Huiji district government in Zhengzhou said Thursday that it sent in the bulldozer only after the hospital turned a deaf ear to requests that its CT room and morgue must be demolished to make way for the road project.

The district defended itself by saying that the workers checked that no one was inside before they torn down the buildings.