After two Chinese petitioners presented long-standing grievances to an inspection team from Beijing, they were attacked by gangsters allegedly hired by the local authorities.
Early in August an inspection team working for the central authorities as part of the ongoing, nationwide anti-corruption campaign arrived in the capital of the coastal province Jiangsu, Nanjing. The team was tasked with inspecting the local officials’ work and gathering public opinion. Many Chinese petitioners in area have taken the team’s work as a chance to report grievances that have long been left unsolved by China’s petition and legal systems.
Liu Tonglin, an entrepreneur from Xuzhou City of Jiangsu who is over 60 years old, visited the central inspection team on Aug. 12. 10 years ago local government officials illegally occupied and demolished his factories and then sold the property.
Liu did not receive any relief in the courts and has petitioned authorities about his case for 10 years. During that time he has been several times beaten up and detained in “black jails” by people hired by the officials.
On the way home from visiting the central inspection team, Liu was followed by two young men. They beat him mercilessly with wooden sticks until he passed out on street, according to Radio Free Asia. Bones in his arm, fingers, and leg were fractured, and one tendon ruptured, the report says.
“I vaguely heard the attackers said ‘dare you go complain and petition,’ when I almost passed out,” Liu said. “One of them beat me in the front, and one beat me in the back. They didn’t stop even when I collapsed to the ground.”
Liu told RFA that he believes that the two attackers are gangsters hired by the government. “They seem to be gangsters hired by the government, because the way they beat me is different [than the way government employees have beaten him.] They should be gangsters.”
On Aug. 11, a female petitioner, 73-year-old Liu Daolan, also suffered a similar attack in Nanjing, the report says. Liu Daolan suffered multiple fractures in the bone below the knee in one leg after being beaten by a man seemingly in his 30s, her son, Mr. Zuo, told RFA.
“[My mom] is just out of critical condition… She’s over 70, and her health condition wasn’t good already. How could she suffer the beating by a 30-some-year-old man?” Mr. Zuo said.
As with Liu Tonglin, the elderly Liu Daolan had also visited the central inspection team before the attack. She became a petitioner because her daughter’s body had been found the day after she had been summoned by police.
Liu Daolan has tried to get an explanation from the police station about her daughter’s death, and sought to the station to take responsibility for it. The police station refused to respond to the case, and sent Liu to a mental hospital, faking a diagnosis of mental illness for her.
News about Chinese petitioners being illegally detained and violently tortured by local governments has often been exposed by oversea media in recent years.
Recently, the state-run Beijing News also published a rare report about a recent trial of a suspect, surnamed Xing, who was hired to detain and torture several petitioners in Anhui Province.
Petitioner, Wang Weilong, stated in court that Xing slapped his head with a belt, and used a red-hot pincer to burn his back, when he was detained by unidentified people on his way to Beijing to petition in 2012. “Isn’t your surname Wang? I’ll burn the character Wang on your back,” Wang recalled Xing told him during the torture
However, the court did not charge Xing for the torture, but only for illegal detention. The authorities who hired Xing were not held responsible.
Xing told the court that he was not even 18, and wasn’t aware of the law. “I’m also a victim,” Xing said.
Many netizens have responded to the Beijing News report, condemning the state’s action. “The government is simply a triad,” netizen “Yunzitianxia” remarked.