Heck of a lede by the Associated Press:
Having the dead guy jump up for a drink probably wasn’t part of the script.
A staged protest claiming that city officials had beaten a sidewalk vendor to death in central China went awry when the man playing dead under a white sheet was overcome by the region’s heat wave and sprang up to quaff a bottle of water, state media reported Monday.
“It’s too hot. I can’t bear it anymore,” the man was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua News Agency.
The Economist’s Gady Epstein reminds that this was a story taken from Xinhua, so who really knows, but if this account is true, it’s yet another reminder that Chinese news can occasionally be phenomenal. “Hair-brained scheme to extort Chengguan goes awry,” tweets Eric Fish. Who needs a poet to write about mice and men when you have Xinhua?
More than 10 men had gathered Saturday with a gurney that purportedly carried the vendor’s body, covered by a sheet, in the Hubei provincial capital Wuhan. They were demanding tens of thousands of yuan (thousands of dollars) in compensation for the alleged death, Xinhua said.
The incident drew 300 onlookers and about 80 police officers.
It was not immediately clear how the group intended to press their claims without submitting the body for an investigation and autopsy. In any case, the game was up when the man — as Xinhua reported — jumped up after two hours under the sheet.
The people should have hired a better actor. This street cleaner, for instance.