Although it signals an end to dreary winter chills, spring in Beijing also brings with it the dangerous aerial concoction of air pollution, sandstorms, and flying catkins. And, if Beijing's skies weren't already full enough, there is a new threat to contend with: killer bees.
A Haidian court is currently conducting a trial in which the bereaved family is suing the city for RMB 2 million (USD 317,600) after a man named Zhao died from a bee sting while visiting a Beijing park.
The victim's family are accusing the Beijing park of not having implemented any preventative measures that could have prevented the death while also naming the city's ambulance dispatch as a co-defendant in the case for not arriving in time to save the victim.
Police say Zhao died from an allergic reaction to the bee sting that immediately incapacitated him, causing his death minutes later.
Wang Xueyan, director of the allergy department at Beijing Shijitan Hospital, described Zhao's death as "a classic allergy case" during the trial.
Wang said Zhao had exhibited common symptoms of allergic reactions like anaphylactic shock and swelling of the throat and lungs that restricted his air flow and suffocated him to death.
The case is still underway; no verdict has yet been reached.
Media reports of the case omit major details such as the date of the incident, at which park it happened, and whether or not Zhao is a Beijing resident. Furthermore, Chinese news is vague about the specific type of insect that administered the fatal sting; most reports are seen using a broad term that could mean "bee," "wasp," or "hornet."
According to Wang, only a tiny minority of the public is extremely sensitive to bee stings resulting in death. In 2016, a visitor to a Shenzhen park died from a bee sting.
Bee attacks have been an issue for Beijing parks before when three people were injured by bees in the city's east-end Yunhe Park back in 2014. And although they didn't have to defend themselves in court, city parks have also tried to avoid the blame for such incidents.
In another bee attack, in that same year on a family of 10, a Chaoyang Park worker explained that the city's waterways department is responsible for the incident since it occurred by the lakeside.
Beijing courts have seen a number of litigation recently in which victims are suing for large damages.
A Beijing woman is suing IKEA for RMB 1 million after one of their glasses allegedly exploded, knocking her unconscious. Last year, the victim of a tiger mauling sued Badaling Animal Park for RMB 1.5 million after she got out of her car while driving through the dangerous animal exhibit.
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