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Self-harm methods to draw attention should never be tolerated | Updated: 2013-07-22 20:03

A man in a wheelchair set off an explosive device at the Beijing Capital International Airport on Saturday, injuring himself and a policeman, seeking to draw "special attention" to his long-time complaint through official petition channels. "Special attention" should be given to every citizen who files a case through the country's petition system, not by way of any petitioner's desperate acts, said an article in Beijing Times (excerpts below).

The man, Ji Zhongxing, 34, warned passers-by to keep their distance before he denoted the explosive device. Though the device did not injure others, it posed severe danger to public security and social order.

The incident echoes another destructive act by an unemployed petitioner, Chen Shuizong, who killed 47 people by setting a bus on fire in Xiamen, Fujian province. He so despaired of finding a solution through official petition channels that he committed self-immolation to take revenge on society.

The differences in these two incidents lie in the fact that Ji sought his rights and attention through self-harm while Chen Shuizong let out his grievances by taking revenge on society.

Though self-harm is not a crime under current law, the Beijing airport explosion posed threats to airport order and public security. The public has sympathy toward Ji for his explosion was not intended to harm others but only himself, but his radical behavior toward public security cannot shield him from legal punishment.

Ji's behavior sent out a message that he was long ignored through his efforts of official petitions, so sought to draw "special attention" through self-harm. Some Web users raised concerns the airport blast may cause other vulnerable groups to make their voices heard by conducting similar violent protests.

To prevent such incidents happening, authorities need to make sure "special attention" is given to every petition.

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