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Chinese bomber receives outpouring of sympathy online

The day after a Chinese man set off bombs in local government buildings and killed himself, Chinese internet users said they understand his frustration – and his actions.

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Chinese websites and microblogs boiled over on Friday with messages of sympathy and support for a man who killed himself and two others in a bomb attack on local government buildings in southern China Thursday, also wounding 10 bystanders.

Qian Mingqi, who spent a decade unsuccessfully attempting to win legal redress for what he said was the illegal demolition of his home, set off three bombs in three government offices in Fuzhou, Jiangxi province. In a post that was sent on a Chinese microblog similar to Twitter just before his attack, he said he wanted “to use action to remove evil-doers for the people.”

The flood of supportive comments online since his death is a sign of widespread public frustration at the government's disdain for ordinary citizens. Most of the comments have treated his action as righteous vengeance, rather than a terrorist attack.

“Qian was no Bin Laden, he was one of the weak,” said Li Chengpeng, one of China’s most popular and influential bloggers, in an interview. “He had no way to express himself nor defend his rights.”

The cost of urbanization

As China urbanizes at breakneck speed and the demand for land grows, local authorities across the country have often resorted to violence to force farmers off their land or residents from their homes, generally paying them a pittance while profiting handsomely from developing the confiscated land.

Those abuses have drawn increasing public attention in recent years, but courts generally follow the wishes of the local government and rarely intervene.

Mr. Qian left a trail of posts online which explained his futile efforts, through lawsuits and petitions to the government, to win compensation for his property and home, which he said had been illegally knocked down by the authorities.

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