Girl's Murder Triggers Riot in Guizhou Province

June 29, 2008 Updated: June 29, 2008

Over 10,000 people rioted and torched the local police station and government buildings in southwest China's Guizhou province Saturday, June 28, to vent anger towards the local government's cover up of an alleged rape and murder of a female student.

The victim's foster father, Xie Xinfa, and several other locals told the Epoch Times , “The officials have become the protective umbrella of bad people and mobsters. Rich and powerful people can engage in illegal activities without any consequences, while the common people are without money and can barely make enough money to stay alive.”

According to an investigation by the Epoch Times , the victim, Li Shufen, was a student from Weng'an County No. 3 High School. Li's brother found her dead in a river around midnight on June 21. There were also two males and one female standing on a nearby bridge near the scene of the crime. The female, surnamed Wang, is Li's classmate and claimed that Li committed suicide by jumping into the river.

Li's brother found no water in Li's stomach, and he had never saw any indicators that Li had suicidal tendencies. They took Wang and the two other men to the local police station. The three were unconditionally released the next morning and the police claimed that the victim died from suicide. There was no investigation written record provided, according to witnesses.

Local residents told Li's family that they heard people yelling for help around 11 p.m. that evening. One person said Li was raped, then killed and tossed into the river. The police did not conduct a comprehensive autopsy, or take any precautionary measures, and the family's request for a complete autopsy was ignored.

According to Li's family, they learned that the three suspects are all connected to the local police, party committee leaders, and provincial party committee leaders. The three suspects were released within 8 hours.

A photo of the incident posted to a Chinese website.
A photo of the incident posted to a Chinese website.

On Monday, June 23, the medical examiner also concluded that the case was a “suicide.” The family and relatives went to the county party committee to appeal on behalf of Li's death. As the result, one of Li's uncles was severely beaten by six plainclothes policemen and died in a hospital.

“The police even attempted to forcibly burn Li's body. Li's family refused and they were all beaten. Fortunately, now many people are guarding the body,” said Xie, adding that the police also tried to get the family to admit that the body was pulled up by the fire brigade instead of by her family members.

Local resident Mr. Wang said, “An uncle of Li was not only beaten to death but others who helped to appeal were also beaten to death. We don't know even the number of deaths right now. There are also a few dozen students seriously injured from the beatings.”

The tragedy has brought out the local people's indignation and disdain for the government, according to locals.

Students from four high schools in Weng'an County went to the police station to appeal and the local government mobilized armed forces to suppress these appeals. As a result, students and some local people set fire to the police station, and turned over and burned a few dozen police vehicles.

The police were surrounded and could not escape. Police reinforcements from other places came to Weng'an County.

A local resident, Ms. Liu, said, “A group of students held banners and went to the government to redress this injustice and no one responded. They then went to the police station. The police used electric batons to beat the students. When the local people heard about the situation, they rushed over to join the students, smashed a few dozen police vehicles, and later set fire to the police station.”

Another photo in the series of the incident, posted by a Chinese netizen.
Another photo in the series of the incident, posted by a Chinese netizen.

Mr. Wang joined the protest on June 29 and said more and more people came on Saturday. As many as 10,000 people gathered and torched the police station, county government building, and Civil Affairs Bureau building.

Wang claimed, “The fire brigade was also surrounded by the public and were not allowed to enter. The regime finally saw the true power of the people like the old saying, 'If the people fear no death, how could they be threatened by death!'”

According to local residents, the county government and the police have engaged in lawless activities in the past. Locals say the police partnered with mobs to bully, suppress, and arrest people at will, and the people have nowhere to appeal.

Liu said, “Many girls have been murdered in a similar fashion and the suspects were often let go. No one was ever caught. The regime has frequently collaborated with local mobs and covered up such crimes. There have been a lot of cases like this.”

A local resident, Mr. Yang, said, “The corruption in the local mining industries and the water pollution problem have caused such a shortage of water that we don't even have water to cook. Whoever appealed against this would be arrested for sure. I knew seven people had been sentenced for 'disturbing the social order.' One of them was sentenced to six years in prison. This time, we are not just asking for justice for Li, but for other people as well.”

The Epoch Times attempted to speak the local government and police station but there was no response. The Chinese Communist party has already began to censor information about this incident on the Internet. Some messages that appeared on Mainland bulletin boards were deleted quickly.