Thursday, December 01, 2005

Self Immolation in Taiwan

There was a story in the Taipei Times today about a man immolating himself in front of the Presidential Palace. The most extraordinary thing is that it seems to have had nothing to do with the upcoming elections.
It is not known why the man wanted to kill himself, but he reportedly told police that his bride from China had cheated him out of some NT$400,000 (US$12,000). A spokesman for the department said that around 3:25pm, the man, 34, surnamed Wang, poured a bottle of gasoline over himself on a sidewalk beside a parking lot of the Presidential Office and turned himself into a human torch.

This isn't the first time someone has lit themselves on fire in front of the government buildings here. I believe the last time was about five years ago as reported in The Evening Standard, January 30th, 2001,
Taipei, Taiwan - A Taiwan activist set himself on fire to protest construction of the island's fourth nuclear power plant today, a day before Parliament is scheduled to reopen debate on the controversial project. Cable television pictures showed Huang Ting-fang, 53, engulfed in flames in front of Taipei's parliamentary building as other demonstrators poured bottled water on him to put out the fire.


This Reuters image was originally found at Up in Smoke.com

And that wasn't the only example in 2001. Pravda.ru reported another incident on March 23rd of that same year when,
Mir’s fall leaves, at least, 1 dead
Reports of first victims of the Mir space station’s ditching start to come in. According to some news agencies, a resident of Taiwan has committed self-immolation on his ancestors’ grave for fear that the Mir’s debris may fall on his native town T’ai-chung. According to doctors, the self-murderer suffered from depression.

So there is a scattered history of self-immolation on Taiwan. The police are looking into yesterday's incident. I would suggest that they check to see how much local election coverage the man has been watching every night and how many of those little blue election trucks have been trolling past the man's house each morning with their tom-toms pounding and their loudspeakers blaring. This tragic act may have more to do with the elections than it appears. I wish someone would start lighting those little trucks on fire. I mean, in the wee hours, when no one's driving them, and only after they've been proven empty. I'm not out for blood, just some peace and quiet. Maybe that's all Mr. Wang needed as well.

2 comments:

Sean Reilly said...

According to one of the ladies at work, the Chinese news also reported that Mr. Wang also lost his child to his Mainland bride, but I still can't help thinking that those annoying little trucks played their part.

Karl said...

I threw a glass of water off my balcony onto a 9:30PM soundtruck procession last night (I got the guys in the jeep). Too bad I didn't have time to fill a bucket, but I'm going to fill one up in advance tonight.