Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

People must not be left behind

By Wu Yixue (China Daily) Updated: 2014-07-22 07:38

Bus attacks show the need for balanced development and social justice so that the least advantaged also enjoy benefits of growth

Police have confirmed that the fire on a bus in Guangzhou, capital of southern Guangdong province, on Tuesday was "man made".

The fire killed two and injured 32, at least eight of whom are in a critical condition. The 25-year-old suspect, a Hunan native surnamed Ou, is reported to have confessed to police that he set fire to the bus because he wanted to "take revenge on the society" after he lost money gambling. He is now in detention and police are investigating the incident further.

It is really upsetting to see another frustrated person at the bottom of society behaving in such an irrational and violent manner. No matter what the circumstances, a person's "misfortune" can never be taken as an excuse for harming others.

Worryingly, the Guangzhou bus fire occurred only days after a man set fire to a bus in Hangzhou, the capital of eastern Zhejiang province, injuring 30 people, 15 of them seriously. Like Ou, 34-year-old Hangzhou arsonist Bao Laixu is also a member of the grassroots population. A native of under-developed Gansu province, he worked part-time in several cities, including Hangzhou, and he reportedly said he felt lonely and depressed, especially after he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. According to reports, on several occasions Bao revealed to others his intention of staging a malignant act to gain publicity.

Besides the two most recent incidents, there were also a number of similar incidents last year, including one in Xiamen, eastern Fujian province, when a man set fire to a bus, killing 47 and injuring 34 others. This incident sparked intense public debate with some expressing sympathy with the suspect, Chen Shuizong, a 59-year-old Xiamen native who had been struggling to meet his daily needs. Chen, who also died in the fire, apparently decided to set the packed bus ablaze to get revenge on society after he had failed to change the "unfair treatment" he felt he had received regarding his pension and medical care.

But besides the fierce voices condemning Chen, the case also provoked a lot of debate about the country's social assistance system and appeal channels.

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