BEIJING (Reuters) - A bulldozer killed a four-year-old girl in southeastern China after her family resisted a land grab, a major cause of unrest in the country, Chinese media reported on Thursday, sparking online outrage.
Hong Xiaorou was killed in Fujian province when the bulldozer hit her on Wednesday despite her grandmother screaming for the vehicle to stop, a provincial government-run news website said.
Photos on Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, showed Hong’s parents weeping over Hong’s lifeless body.
Authorities said Hong’s death was an accident and that they had detained those responsible, according to the website.
Seizures of land across China have been fuelled by soaring prices and the government’s urban expansion drive, resulting in often violent clashes between officials and villagers.
Outdated laws mean farmers have little legal recourse to oppose land grabs - commonly where village leaders sell off plots to a developer with little or no consultation - or to demand fairer compensation.
Hong’s death has been widely discussed on Weibo, especially as it follows a series of grisly incidents involving children. Chinese police said they were hunting a woman suspected of gouging out the eyes of a six-year-old boy, state media reported on Wednesday.
“Recently there have been so many children who have been injured and so many reports of deaths,” a microblogger wrote. “Please stop hurting children.”
Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Ben Blanchard and Nick Macfie