Despite Surging PMIs, China's Poor Resort To Self-Immolation

Tyler Durden's picture

With China's Manufacturing PMI at cycle highs and Services PMI comfortably in expansion, everything must be ponies and unicorns among the world's most mal-invested credit-bubble-fueled populace. However, as we have pointed out, discrepancies abound in the data and now desperately sad anecdotal picture of a wretched working class in China are starting to emerge. As WantChinaTimes reports, 55-year-old Zhao Guangsheng poured flammable liquids on his body before lighting himself on fire and running into Xingtan city government's office lobby (in Hunan province). Poverty appears to be the reason for his self-immolation, aside from mental instability, as Zhao was unable to pay utility bills after being moved due to forced land acquisitions by the government.


As WantChinaTimes reports,

The city government of Xingtan in south China's Hunan province has confirmed rumors that a man set himself on fire outside government offices on Friday after photos of the self-immolation incident went viral on the internet.


Witnesses say the man, identified as Zhao Guangsheng, a 55-year-old former local boiler plant worker, poured flammable liquids on his body before lighting himself on fire and running into the city government's office lobby at around 4:30pm on Aug. 1.




The flames were eventually put out by security guards and Zhao was rushed to the hospital, where he reportedly sustained third-degree burns to 99% of his body.




Zhao's motive for setting himself on fire appears to be linked to a combination of long-term financial desperation, family problems and emotional and psychological instability.




Neighbors told reporters that Zhao and his son previously lived in public housing but were forced to vacate the property for a different government-funded community in the second half of 2013 because they were unable to pay utility bills. Sources told Xinhua that Zhao had visited the government office on multiple occasions and had applied for early retirement and low-price housing...




In some of the photos online, it appeared someone had written the Chinese characters for "Land" on the ground, leading to speculation that the incident may have been related to forced land acquisitions by the government, though this has been denied by insider sources.

*  *  *

This is all very depressing - and anecdotal of course - though we note that employmeht indices in the PMIs have been in contraction for 27 months. By way of finding a more jovial conclusion to this story, we thought the following clip might help... as Chinese central planners build an 'optimal' square-cornered running track...


Mal-investment at its best...

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q99x2's picture

Check their BAC. They could be from Q99X2.

Yen Cross's picture





 17:30       AUD         MI Inflation Gauge (MoM)                          0.2%           0.0%      
18 min       NZD         ANZ Commodity Price Index (MoM)                 -0.9%      
48 min       AUD         ANZ Job Advertisements (MoM)                 4.3%      
48 min       AUD         Retail Sales (MoM)                                  0.4%     -0.5%      
4h 18m       AUD AUD/USD Index    
  Lets crank it up a notch/

yellowsub's picture

The human torch is real!  Now where's the rest of the Fantastic Four?

Theta_Burn's picture

Pretty fucking funny when a guy reaches the depths of despair and sees lighting himself on fire as a way out


buzzsaw99's picture

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese investigators faulted poor safety measures for an explosion at an auto parts factory that killed 71 people and injured more than 180, with news reports Sunday revealing that workers had long complained of dangerous levels of dust and inadequate cleaning practices at the facility.

Metal dust produced from polishing steel hubcaps ignited Saturday morning at the factory in the eastern Chinese city of Kunshan, causing an explosion that destroyed almost the entire roof of the plant, city officials said. More than 200 workers were at the factory at the time of the blast, China's most serious industrial disaster since a fire at a poultry plant killed 119 people in June last year.

The metallic dust stuck to the skin of workers, burning between 50 and 90 percent of their bodies...

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

buzz, it's exactly that kind of thing that will keep China from becoming No. 1, IMO.  

America will/would fail only from within.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


buzz, it's exactly that kind of thing that will keep China from becoming No. 1, IMO.

Then again, it could also be this kind of thing:

America will/would fail only from within.

A process which has been proceeding quite successfully thus far, thanks to Wall Street and Vichy DC.

Zeta Reticuli's picture

That gas explosion was in Taiwan, not China. They are different countries.

Ginsengbull's picture

A self cutting daisycutter.

Duc888's picture



Some cred involved here... at least he didn't sit outside a building and become a human torch.  The stink of burning flesh inside a building earns him a 5.0 or a 5.5 on the score card.


Hat's off to you sir.


Ginsengbull's picture

He could have multiplied the effect a thousandfold with a few handfuls of bird droppings in his pocketses.

WTFUD's picture

People will do anything to jump the Queue!

No seriously why not grab hold of the top civil servant OR preferably strap on a Vest. This would get these scumbag's attention. Why only have your family and friends suffer your pain when you could spread the LOVE?

novictim's picture

Nothing a good band aid won't cure.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Isn't that what you said about the Odessans in the trade union building? Or was it the people in Slavyansk under the raining phosphorus? I guess it could have been both...

kchrisc's picture

The worse thing about this story is that he didn't have the wisdom to take at least one pol, crat or bankster with him.


"You may not be able to "take it with you," but you sure can take some of the criminals though."

The_Prisoner's picture

Think of it as a High-G manouver. Centuries of agrarian self-sufficience turned into a hyperdrive capitalism within one generation.

Cognitive dissonanace is taking their toll on Asians being forced into the western model of consumption and financial capitalism within an extremelly compressed time frame.

Burma is next.

NoDebt's picture

I don't mean to sound insensitive, but do they really think that form of protest will create even the slightest deviation in the path of China's government or their elites?  Such people are quickly branded as "mentally distrubed" and written off just as they would be in the US.  Forget "honor" and what is just.  That only mattered when the lives of people mattered.  Now we have more than they know what to do with.

The elites don't give a shit if a million people do that to themselves.  Fewer potental protesters/terrorists to deal with later.

If you want to hit them where it hurts (and will make a difference) you need to understand what the elites are afraid of.  They are afraid of a popular uprising.  They are more afraid of a popular uprising that has even the slightest clue where to channel their frustration (hint: not the local manager of a corner convenience store).

Zeta Reticuli's picture

I doubt if you have ever spent any time in China. You sit on the other side of the planet consuming your daily diet of government propaganda and Zionist media drivel and decide that you are an expert on what is going on in China. You know nothing and are just a tool of the government. Keep up the work, Good Citizen. Maybe you will get an award for your work.

medium giraffe's picture

WTF are you talking about?  The Chinese government very famously don't give a shit.  What about the staged self-immolation that was blamed on Falun Gong?  Ooohhhh, now I've said it, 'Falun Gong'.  Now we have to talk about persecution, false imprisonment, torture, smear campaigns and ORGAN HARVESTING ffs.

Sure, NoDebt clearly knows nothing about the Chinese govt. and probably never even heard of Tiananmen Square. Right? Right?.....


Zeta Reticuli's picture

If you know anything about Chinese people, in China or around the world, they all hate Falun gong. It is a destructive cult the preys on the weak. It separates them first from their families and then from their money. They worship their cult leader like a god. If you knew anybody who was victimized by Falun gong, as I have, you would not be babbling on about it. Unless you are one of their wild-eyed zealots, of course. Why is it that the people who know the least about something are always the ones with the strongest opinions?

And I was right, you have never been to China. You are just masturbating to your recycled 1955 Cold War propaganda. I'll bet you belong to that cult that worships the 2000 year old Jewish zombie that walks on water and performs magic tricks and you await his rising from the grave because it will announce armageddon. What are they called? Oh yeah, Xtians.

medium giraffe's picture

Lol, swinging even further off the mark there my friend, so many assumptions.  Christian? Bwaaa ha ha ha ha ha.  Never been to China? Uh huh...

I'm not saying that FG's founder appears particularly rational,  but I think they fall short of being an honest to goodness cult of the messiah.  Never seen a cult that encourages independent thought.  And don't think I didn't notice you failing to counter the persecution argument, which is well documented, and actually the point we are discussing here.  You don't like them so that makes crimes against humanity ok, yes?

Enjoy your chi-com government cool-aid. Time to hop in your little spaceship perhaps, ZZ 9 Plural Z Alpha no longer requires your services.  Here's some light reading for the trip:  ;)

Zeta Reticuli's picture

Go back to your desk at Epoch times. Maybe you have some more links they sponsor?

medium giraffe's picture

Heh, you're just too much fun ZR.  Keep throwing insults, you might find one that is danger of being nearly accurate.  Your Re-education Through Labour seems to be working well though, keep up the good work, maybe one day you'll be able to pass on all that you've learned to your one-child-policy progeny.


are we there yet's picture

Grusomly his flames are reflected in the government polished marble.

22winmag's picture

When the very same thing happens in America (and it does) there is a total media blackout and it doesn't make the national news... just a few sentences in the local paper.

HUGE_Gamma's picture

to be fair.. its only the paint lines that are square. 

world_debt_slave's picture

when you lose everything, you lose it

Dr. Engali's picture

I never understood this kind of behavior. If you want to take yourself out, dump the gas on a fucking banker and then let the police take you out. Go down with a damn fight.

eternalblue's picture

self immolation in the US;

with free obamacare for self immolation


tickhound's picture

So there's that ScamBoT that Tyler owns, again. Plus a poor chinese man on fire, together with mis-allocated paint resources, and both despite a surging pmi.

The mob is hungry CEO Tyler, but it's not freaking starving. This article is bread and circus...

Meanwhile I'm fat thumbing phone ads to supposedly keep the lights on somewhere...

fuu's picture



You have to respect the self-immolators.

johnmack's picture

sorry zerohedge but how does this affect the price of rice, one guy burning himself does not equal to a systemic shift in a culture. Sometimes zerohedge has very good articles, other times it has articles which are either pointless or done right nonsensical and ends up coming across as an angry cynical mans rant against the system. 






James's picture

That's because you are looking at the issue as a singular event.

This is happening worldwide daily. Hundreds of sustenance farmers are offing themselves in India after Monsanto got their land.

That young Tunisian man who offed himself after his own govt. first regulated him out of work and then took his vegetable stand.

And don't forget our own Soldiers offing themselves daily as they return home w/battle scars mentally and physicaly.

Name the common denominator.


Lin S's picture

If I was going to go the human Roman Candle route, I'd do it in the CEO's office of a very large bank while bear-hugging the boss.

AnAnonymous's picture

'American' economics is not supposed to work for the poor.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

The poors are supposed to work for 'american' economics.

Bemused Observer's picture


To burn alive is one of the most horrible ways to go...IF you are lucky enough to die that is...If I ever got THAT desperate, it wouldn't be ME that roasted, that's for damned sure!