A Chinese official overseeing the demolition a hospital last week — injuring several patients and burying six bodies from its morgue under rubble — was fired, state media reported Sunday. The Number Four Hospital of Zhengzhou University in Henan province was partially demolished Thursday amid a land dispute, Xinhua news agency reported.
Authorities believe that local officials in the central Chinese province violated rules in forcibly demolishing part of the hospital while it was still under operation. Hospital staff reportedly said equipment worth over $600,000 was damaged. China Central Television reported Sunday that an investigation into the incident was underway, according to the Associated Press.
The hospital reportedly accused the local government of ordering the demolition work. However, the local Huiji district government reportedly said, in a statement, that the hospital's CT room and morgue were on land designated for a road expansion project. The government reportedly gave a green signal for the demolition work after asking the hospital several times to dismantle the rooms themselves.
Hospital official Yuan Fang told Xinhua that radiology equipment had been damaged and several patients were forced to switch hospitals. "Burying the bodies of patients in rubble is extremely disrespectful to the deceased," he reportedly said.
The incident reportedly sparked outrage in China, where forced demolitions are a common practice.
According to reports, three expensive structures have been dismantled in China in the last two months. In Tianjin, a 210-meter high-rise apartment building was demolished because the developer changed the building design map halfway. In Xi'an, Shaanxi province, a 118-meter high building that was completed in 1999 was leveled because the local government wanted to build a new building on the same land. In Zhengzhou, Henan province, an overpass that was put into use four years ago was destroyed because it obstructed the construction of the metro system.