Chinese Officials Apologize For Cremating 46 Landslide Victims Without Consent

AP, XINHUA (China)


ZHENXIONG - Chinese authorities have offered a rare apology after cremating the remains of 46 victims of last Friday's deadly landslide, before even consulting with their families.

The AP reports that Hu Jianpu, deputy dead of Zhenxiong county in China’s Yunnan province, told state broadcaster CCTV "We did that because we were afraid that the bodies would start to decay and some bodies have been damaged in the landslide and we thought the family members would be too distraught to see them."

Traditionally in the region, the dead are buried after elaborate funerals and not cremated.

The government has said that the landslide was triggered by continuous snow and rain – however, many villagers believe that a gas explosion was to blame. Xinhua quoted villagers as saying blasting and other mining work had opened up huge fissures in the mountain looming over the villages of Gaopo and Zhaojiagou, where 14 homes were smothered.

One coal miner said the mining area was right beneath the landslide and that people had seen "earth and rocks sprayed up into the air" when the landslide occurred.

Locals also insisted that this year there has been little snow or rain compared to other years.

No geological disasters have happened in the history of this area, Liu Jianhua, the mayor of Zhaotong City that administers Zhenxiong, told Xinhua. No hidden dangers had been discovered in previous surveys and no signs had appeared prior to the disaster, Liu said.

Feature: SW China village mourns landslide (Photo By Wang Shen)…

— Xinhua News Agency (@XHNews) January 13, 2013

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A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

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