Friday, February 27, 2009

Chinese couple sets themselves on fire

Here's something you don't read about too often: a Chinese couple, along with a third person who seemed to be trying to help the other two through their presumed torments, set themselves on fire in their car in Beijing earlier this week.

BEIJING—A man and a woman whose car caught fire near Tiananmen Square earlier this week had set themselves ablaze inside the vehicle, China's official news agency said Friday in a reversal of its previous report.

When the Xinhua News Agency originally reported on Wednesday's fire just east of the Beijing landmark it said three people in the car had set themselves on fire. But in a later report, the agency said a fire broke out inside the car after police stopped the vehicle and approached it—making no mention of the fire being self-inflicted.

It was not clear what Xinhua was basing its latest report on. Beijing police refused to comment over the telephone and did not immediately respond to a faxed request for details.

The couple and another man were in Beijing to seek help with "personal problems," Xinhua and Beijing police have said. The self-immolation may have been a desperate attempt to draw attention to their troubles.

Talk about desperate ... if you wanna make a statement, block a high-traffic bridge with a banner stating your goal(s), or launch a protest march, or something. Self-immolation may be all the craze these days, but seriously, I'm pretty sure there are better ways to get your point across. Not to mention you don't end up looking like Two-Face.

Anyway, the couple are miraculously alive and recovering (the man, 59, has serious burns and swelling, and the woman, 58, has burned fingers), and if anything, they certainly got the attention they apparently craved. No word on the mysterious third person who was in the car with them, though.


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