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Tomb sweepers held for ranger assault

[ 2010-04-07 13:26]     字号 [] [] []  
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Two tomb sweepers who allegedly beat a park ranger who confronted them about lighting cigarettes and burning spirit papers have been arrested.

The incident occurred about 9 am Friday, in advance of Tomb Sweeping Festival on Monday, in a country park in the Shijingshan district, police said.

Zhang Shuquan, 56, was patrolling the park when he overheard a volunteer quarreling with three men and two women who were holding a small memorial service at a gravesite. The three men were smoking, burning spirit papers and lighting cigarettes as sacrifices.

Zhang tried to stop them, citing fears that burning embers would ignite parched trees.

One of the men then reportedly pushed Zhang.

"I grabbed him but two other men came and hit me, even though I had not said a word to them," Zhang told Beijing Morning Post.

"One of them hit me on my forehead with a shovel and I lost consciousness immediately," he said.

Zhang was hit on the head at least twice. Park rangers who heard the commotion called police and sent Zhang to the hospital.

Zhang, who was in stable condition Tuesday, was being cared for by coworkers. Zhang's employer paid 1,800 yuan in medical costs.

The two suspects were arrested by police and compensation from them will be discussed later.

"I don't know much about the compensation thing," Zhang was quoted saying. "My company will take care of that. Hopefully, I will recover soon."

Zhang, from Heilongjiang province, is in his second year as a ranger.

Officials from the No 1 greenery team of Shijingshan Landscaping Bureau said the period from November to May usually sees a higher incidence of forest fires.

The Tomb Sweeping Festival is especially dangerous because many celebrants burn spirit money, incense or cigarettes, the bureau said.

It added that visitors have been very supportive of their work and noted the attack was the first incident of its kind at the park.

The Beijing fire brigade said on Tuesday that 13 large fires were caused by tomb sweeping from March 27 through Monday, down almost 20 percent from the same period last year.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Tomb sweepers held for ranger assault

Tomb sweepers held for ranger assault

Todd Balazovic is a reporter for the Metro Section of China Daily. Born in Mineapolis Minnesota in the US, he graduated from Central Michigan University and has worked for the China daily for one year.