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Top 10 avoidable tragedies

Updated: 2011-01-16 16:13
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Top 10 avoidable tragedies

Editor's note: 2010 marked the year of the tiger, which traditionally symbolizes that all are powerful, hopeful and energetic in nature. However, for some people it was a year of troubles.

It may have been the lucky year for most, but for a few, the memories of bitterness, tears, trails and tribulations should be left behind and behind the tiger's beaming smile, 2010 was a year of unhappiness. Here we list the ten saddest people and their stories.

Top 10 avoidable tragedies

1. Murder convict set free after 'victim' turns up

Zhao Zuohai in Central China's Henan province was imprisoned for 10 years, convicted of murdering fellow villager Zhao Zhenshang. However, his alleged victim returned home, which exonerated him.

In May 1999, the two Zhaos had a hatchet fight in their hometown Zhecheng county in Shangqiu city. Zhao Zhenshang went missing after the incident.

A year later, a headless body was found in a village well, and Zhao Zuohai confessed after being tortured by police.

This year, the "victim" Zhao made a sudden reappearance in the village. According to his account, rather than risk being killed, he simply fled the scene because he also feared he might kill the other Zhao in the frenzy.

After a 10-year absence, Zhao Zhenshang, now paralyzed and having no money for treatment, returned to the village to seek welfare support.

Top 10 avoidable tragedies

Top 10 avoidable tragedies

Top 10 avoidable tragedies

2. From PhD candidate to terrorism suspect

Zhai Tiantian, 27, a Chinese PhD student at Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey of the US, made headlines in the American and Chinese media when he was charged with making terrorist threats in April for threatening to "burn to the ground" a campus building.

After 120 days in custody, the scholar finally landed back in his homeland with a voluntary departure granted by the US federal court of immigration. But he was ready to fly back to America, not to finish his education but to prove his innocence.

Zhai, a native of Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province, denied the charges, saying that he just had a verbal dispute with Joseph Staley, an assistant vice president of the university, who was looking for an excuse to kick him out of school.

Top 10 avoidable tragedies

3. Police dump banker in mental hospital

Peng Baoquan of Hunan province was caught by the local police taking snapshots of a protest and was taken to a mental hospital.

Seeing a group of employees protesting outside a hotel in Shiyang city, where some provincial discipline inspectors were stationed, the 47-year-old banker clicked a few pictures of them. Soon after, he was detained and then admitted to a local mental hospital by the police.

Although Peng's family has been dealing with the mental hospital for some time, they were told that Peng is still under observation.

Top 10 avoidable tragedies

Top 10 avoidable tragedies

Top 10 avoidable tragedies

4. Grandmother buried alive while defending home

A grandmother in Wuhan, Hubei province was beaten and buried alive by property developers trying to take possession of her home.

Wang Cuyun, 70, was beaten by a worker wielding a wooden stick.

The worker then dumped her in a drainage ditch that ringed her property, and a bulldozer covered the woman with dirt, burying her alive.

With the help of neighbors, her son pulled her out of the ditch, by which time she was dead.

According to witnesses, there were policemen supervising the eviction with no one intervening or protecting her.

Top 10 avoidable tragedies

5. Rescuee's family shows indifference

Zhou Xin, a bartender in Kunming, Southwest China's Yunnan province, never made it back to shore after rescuing a drowning woman in an ice-cold river. However, the woman's family showed indifference to his rescue.

On a chilly morning Nov 9, a woman, who was drunk, fell into Panlong River. Hearing cries for help, the 23-year-old Zhou dashed into the freezing river.

Pulled up by passers-by, the woman survived, but Zhou, probably stuck in a big mass of waterweeds, was found ashen-faced and showed no pulse.

However, the woman's family's response was less than grateful: "It's none of our business. We didn't ask for it."

Top 10 avoidable tragedies

Top 10 avoidable tragedies

Top 10 avoidable tragedies

6. Nothing found behind suicide

Liu Yajun, 50, chief of Central and Southern Regional Administration of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), threw himself under a train in June. It was believed to be tied to a series of ongoing corruption investigation of civil aviation officials.

However, the death of the allegedly easygoing leader didn't make sense. Not even a suicide note was found.

According to CAAC, Liu's death was the result of serious depression.

Another theory regarding the suicide was that Liu had become tired of the internal politics within the civil aviation authority.

Top 10 avoidable tragedies

7. Naked enforcement

Lu Xuepei, a 62-year-old farmer in Zhaoshawo village of Henan province, had no idea that a deep offense awaited him on the eighth day of the Lunar New Year.

To raise rabbits, he built three roofless shanties, which hadn't gone through the proper permit process with local construction authorities.

Failing to stop the construction, a group of law enforcement staffers went to the shanties attempting to tear them down.

The officials then dragged a naked Lu out of bed and into the yard, demanding an apology by pushing him down on the ground.

Top 10 avoidable tragedies

Top 10 avoidable tragedies

Top 10 avoidable tragedies

8. Death by water

Inmate Wang Yahui in Lushan county, Pingdingshan city, Henan province died of suspected torture in February. The police told Wang's family that he died from drinking hot water.

Wang, 28, a local villager detained for suspected theft, became thirsty during an interrogation and was offered a cup of boiled water.

The water was too hot to drink, so another officer, who was then drinking some medicine for colds and fever, poured some of his medicine into Wang's cup.

However, after drinking the water, Wang was seized by abdominal pain. He was sent to the hospital, where he died later.

Top 10 avoidable tragedies

9. Farmer defends his turf with rockets

A Chinese farmer resorted to shock tactics to defend his right to land ownership by using improvised rockets to expel demolition crews who threatened to evict him for the construction of commercial buildings.

Since February, Yang Youde, a 56-year-old farmer living on the outskirts of Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei province, has foiled two attempts to flatten his hut by using rockets-like weapon he made himself.

"I shot only over their heads to frighten them," said Yang. "I didn't want to cause any injuries."


Top 10 avoidable tragediesFarmer defends his turf with rockets

Top 10 avoidable tragedies

Top 10 avoidable tragedies

Top 10 avoidable tragedies

10. Happy family crashed apart in car accident

Chen Weining and his wife, Wang Hui, were taking the older of their twin daughters, Zhuzhu, to hospital. At traffic lights near Jianguomenwai, Beijing, a man driving an Infiniti, the luxury brand from carmaker Nissan, crash Chen's Fiat in the early morning.

Chen and Zhuzhu died in hospital while Wang, whose legs, neck and waist were broken, hadn't known her daughter and husband's death.

The Infiniti driver, Chen Jia, who got drunk at a bar in Sanlitun that night, fled the scene but was arrested at his home about 10 hours later.

On a TV interview, his careless and callous attitude about the crash angered viewers and many started an online hunt for him.

Top 10 avoidable tragedies