Baseball91's Weblog

August 9, 2008

Murder in Beijing

 

 

The media was slow to report on exactly who was murdered in Beijing.   Todd Bachman had fame in his own right.  He was CEO of Bachmans, a 121-year-old family business located on 60th and Lyndale in Minneapolis.  This was the largest florist in this part of the country.  Mr. Bachman in April 2008 became the chairman of the board of what I once knew as Florist Mutual based in Edwardsville, Illinois.  Apparently Florist Mutual has changed its name to Hortica Insurance & Employees Benefits.  I never had met the man but i expect he was as classy as the two companies under his charge.     

The father of 3 daughters, he lived in Farmington.  His 6’4” daughter, Wiz, the youngest, had attended UCLA on a volleyball scholarship after rising through her youth in volleyball the way boys in Lakeville are groomed as hockey players.  

(See  http://www.startribune.com/business/26470694.html.)  

With the 300 police reportedly who descended on the scene, it is understandable that the media in China is having a hard time to learn more about the story.

 

It looks to me like the Farmington Independent seems to have broken the story before the Minneapolis and St. Paul papers.   

Todd’s name appear as one of the board of trustee, the chair of Admissions/Financial Aid, at Wartburg College, a private liberal arts Lutheran college affiliated with the ELCA in Waverly, IA.   

 

Mark Zeigler is a writer with the UNION-TRIBUNE in San Diego.  On August 14, 2008, he wrote the following from with a dateline of BEIJING.

China scholar sees ‘symbolism’ in killing of foreigner

In a city of 17.4 million people, the ancient Drum Tower, or Gulou, rises majestically from a gray sea of crumbling brick homes and meandering alleys in central Beijing.  Nearly all of the residents of Beijing are Chinese, and Westerners are easy to identify.  One place they are likely to be found is the Drum Tower.

The notion of suicide also carries a different meaning in China than in the West, as an act of protest. The popular annual Dragon Boat festival commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a poet from 300 B.C. who drowned himself as a final, heroic act of defiance against a repressive government.   

Locals speak of the increasing number of people from the countryside who move to Beijing in search of a better life and, if they don’t find it, quickly become disillusioned. A 2004 report by the Beijing Suicide Research and Prevention Center named suicide as the fifth leading cause of death in China and No. 1 among people between the ages of 15 and 34.

Chinese authorities said Tang was a troubled 47-year-old man from the eastern province of Zhejiang. He reportedly had lost his job at a factory in Hangzhou, had gone through a divorce and was living in a rented room in Beijing. Beijing newspapers and television stations have carried little, if any, mention of the story.

“They are worried you’ll have copycats,” said an official from a Chinese governmental agency, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing his job. “You have how many people who are destitute and disenfranchised in a city this large? (Publicizing the incident) might empower someone to do it again.

“It happens all the time,” said a European language teacher who has lived in Beijing for a decade and who declined to give his name. “Someone loses everything. They lose their job.  They get divorced.  They kill themselves. It happens so often here that no one notices anymore. “

 “I think it’s a minority but I think it exists,” Brownell said of anti-foreigner sentiment in China. “It’s a product of all the rhetoric of China‘s humiliation at the hands of the West. There is a deep-seated xenophobia that has been an integral part of China for centuries, to close down and shut off to the rest of the world. It’s still there today, to a certain extent.”

The Drum Tower was renamed the Tower of Realizing Shamefulness in 1924, serving as a museum devoted to invasions and occupations by foreign nations. It once served as a watch tower on the northern edge of the city, able to alert residents of unwelcome visitors. It has since been converted to a tourist attraction.

 

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