Suicide of Schoolgirl Sparks Riots in China’s Gansu Province

police force standing by
The incident caused an uproar with around 1,000 locals protesting and destroying the supermarket. (Image: hui xin via Screenshot/YouTube)

A young girl committed suicide after being accused of shoplifting at a local supermarket in Gansu Province, Yongchang County. Staff of the Huadong Supermarket in Yongchang’s county town accused the girl of stealing several items, and allegedly humiliated the girl, causing her to jump to her death.

According to, the incident occurred on 28 December. The girl, surnamed Zhao, was stopped by supermarket employees for shoplifting. At first, the staff threatened and insulted her, then they forced her to call her relatives or she would be reported to police.

The girl called her mother and then her father. Both, however, did not have the money — 150 yuan (U.S.$ 23) — to pay for the goods she had taken.

Since they couldn’t pay, the supermarket manager threatened to “take pictures [of the girl] and report the incident to police and school.” At that point, the girl managed to escape, and killed herself by jumping off a nearby building, writes

The incident caused an uproar with around 1,000 locals protesting and destroying the supermarket, overturning police cars, and even beating up Jinchang’s Mayor Zhang Yinghua, who was at the scene.

Armed police were dispatched to diffuse the crowd, but the local people turned on them. A local businessman, who’s surname is Song, told RFA: “When they saw military vehicles driving to the scene, the people assembled there got angry, and a group of them stood in front of one vehicle, blocking its path.”

An employee of Song’s who gave only his nickname, A Cai, said at least 10 people had been detained.

“They detained around a dozen people… and [the crowd] pretty much smashed up all of the police vehicles,” A Cai said. “I saw 10 or more vehicles with broken glass,” writes RFA.

Watch this video by hui xin of protesters clashing with the armed police:

Translated research by Monica Song and Billy Shyu

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