BEIJING – About 2,000 people mobbed a hospital in southwest China where a young boy died after his grandfather was sent away to raise money for the child's treatment. At least 10 people were injured in fighting with police, a human rights organization said Sunday.
The boy, who was about 3 years old, became sick after inadvertently swallowing farm chemicals, but doctors at the facility in Sichuan province told his grandfather to raise more money for his treatment, the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said in a faxed statement.
When the grandfather returned to the Guang'an City No. 2 People's Hospital, the boy had died, the center said. It was not immediately clear if any effort was made to treat the child.
Residents demanded the hospital take responsibility and about 2,000 gathered there Friday and clashed with police, leaving at least 10 people injured, the rights group said. Authorities detained five people.
According to a local telephone operator, the demonstrators smashed windows and equipment and the six-story hospital was forced to close because doctors could not work amid the wreckage. They also burned three police vans, she said.
On Sunday, armed police were patrolling Guang'an and roadblocks had been set up, said the operator who refused to give her name because she was not authorized to speak to the media.
Telephones went unanswered at the hospital and the city's government offices. Police refused to provide details. The state-run Sichuan Daily said Sunday that local authorities had "attached great importance" to investigating the boy's death.
Violent protests flare regularly across China as citizens demonstrate their anger over a range of issues, from official corruption to land disputes to dissatisfaction over the environmental effects of industrialization.