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A police officer shot a man dead in a fight over what some media are alleging was an "illegal forced demolition" in Northeast China on Friday.
An investigation team established by Panjin, Liaoning province, determined on Saturday that the police officer who pulled the trigger, Zhang Yan, was justified in his use of a firearm. The team found that the man who was shot, Wang Shujie, 36, resorted to violence while attempting to hinder police from performing their duties.
"The officer's use of the gun was in compliance with the law," the team said.
But People's Daily alleged on its micro blog on Sunday that the local government had been carrying out an illegal forced demolition.
No agreement on compensation had been reached with villagers and no local court had approved the demolition, the newspaper said.
In a regulation revised in January 2011, the State Council said local governments, unless a court first approves their demolition plans, must obtain residents' consent before they execute their administrative right to demolish houses.
The newspaper also called on the province to set up an independent team to reinvestigate the issue, saying the results released by the Panjin government weren't convincing to residents.
According to a statement from the Panjin government, five workers at a local public utility company drove two power shovels on Friday morning to the site of an affordable-housing project in Ershili village in the Xinglongtai district. On their way they were stopped by Wang, a father of two, and three of his relatives.
Wang said his family's house was going to be affected by the demolition and he was not satisfied with the money he was offered in compensation. The statement said Wang and his relatives had tried to keep the workers away from the site by pouring gasoline on them.
After receiving a report about Wang's actions, Zhang, who works at a local public security station, rushed with a fellow officer to the scene.
Wang and his relatives prevented the officers from intervening and attacked the workers and officers with axes and sickles.
Zhang responded by releasing pepper spray and firing a warning shot. Zhang called for help from three more officers but, after they arrived, found they could still not bring calm to the turmoil.
During the fight, Wang's father hacked Zhang on his left palm and left wrist, causing serious injuries, and Zhang responded by letting off a few more warning shots, the statement said. Wang's father then tried to take the pistol from the officer and was shot in his left leg.
Seeing his father injured, Wang, who had poured gasoline on his clothes, set himself ablaze and attempted to pounce on Zhang, whose clothes had also been sprinkled with gasoline. Zhang believed his life was in danger and shot Wang, the statement said.
Medical personnel who later came to the scene confirmed that Wang was dead.
One of Wang's relatives, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said he did not agree with the account found in the authorities' statement.
"Wang's body has been cremated," he said. "His parents are in a hospital, and we can't reach them, his wife or his brother."
A resident who declined to identify himself told The Beijing News on Sunday that nearly 100 people, some of them driving power shovels, had come to Wang's family's farmland to flatten crops and make way for the construction.
A similar fight erupted last year in the Xinglongtai district.
In May 2011, a resident seriously injured two people who, according to reports, were hired by the district government to forcibly demolish a house the resident was renting.
Provincial authorities said the incident resulted from the district government's illegal demolition of rental houses.
Eight officials, including the district director, were given disciplinary and administrative punishments for their roles in the incident. Several people were also arrested for disturbing residents and forcibly demolishing houses they had rented.
(China Daily 09/24/2012 page4)