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Protesters found guilty of arson

TWO people were found guilty of arson because they tried to commit suicide by setting themselves alight, Shanghai's Minhang District Court ruled yesterday.

Wang and Zha were tried in two separate cases. Wang, 53, threatened to set fire to himself to win more injury compensation from his employer last December. Zha, a young woman from Anhui Province, used the same strategy last November to evict her tenants who refused to pay rent.

Wang was sentenced to six months in jail with a one-year reprieve. Zha escaped penalty, but both were found guilty of arson and endangering public security, the court said.

They were not jailed because they did not cause any damage, Jiefang Daily reported today.

Wang took two bottles of gasoline to his former office to ask for more compensation for a previous work accident and threatened to set himself alight. Security guards snatched his lighter at the last second.

Zha called police to help her drive off her tenants before she thought of burning herself to death to scare them away. The court said that's why she escaped a penalty.

Last November a 47-year-old businesswoman died after setting herself on fire to protest against the forcible demolition of her house in Sichuan Province.

Tang Fuzhen was later hailed as a hero and her death led to widespread anger among property owners and the drafting of a new demolition law, according to earlier reports.


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