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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 November 2006, 13:07 GMT
Hospital death sparks China riot
Map showing Sichuan province, China
About 2,000 people protested outside a hospital in southwest China after a boy died after mistakenly drinking pesticide, a human rights group says.

Doctors told Xiong Hongwei's grandfather he did not have enough money for treatment, the group said.

After the boy died protesters attacked the Guangan No.2 People's Hospital in Sichuan province. At least 10 people were injured in clashes with police.

An official statement cleared the hospital of any wrongdoing.

"The hospital offered the appropriate emergency treatment to the boy before accepting any fees," the statement said.

"The boy's grandfather had paid 123 yuan ($15.6, 8) to the hospital, instead of the full 639 yuan fee, after the boy had died."

Smashed windows

China is facing a growing healthcare crisis as medical fees continue to rise beyond the means of many of the nation's rural poor.

A local telephone operator told AP news agency that demonstrators smashed windows and equipment, forcing the six-storey hospital to close.

"This morning, I saw many armed policemen on the streets," she said. "They were using loudspeakers to tell the people not to believe rumours and to trust the government."

The Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said the grandfather of Xiong Hongwei, who was aged three, was told to fetch more money by the hospital after his son accidentally drank farming chemicals from a soft drinks bottle.


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