Middle School Student Killed, Thousands Protest
On June 28, Dong Zhegui, a seventh grader, was beaten to death by schoolmates outside his middle school in Zhongduo Town in Youyang County of Chongqing City in southwest China. Dong's family went to the school to ask for an explanation. They were assaulted by police. Tens of thousands of civilians protested the murder at the Youyang County government office.
In response to inquiries about the event, a county police spokesperson claimed that the matter had been resolved. According to police, the protest was caused by several hundred ruffians and laid-off workers. The spokesperson claimed not to know whether Dong's murderer was in custody.
Witnesses claimed the murderer was arrested, but then released.
Public Security Ignore Cries for Help
“Dong was a good student”, said a Mr. Shi. “A student who disliked Dong encouraged several others to beat him as he attempted to enter the school. One upperclassman stabbed him.”
According to Mr. Wu, an eyewitness, nearly a dozen students had beaten Dong near the entrance to the school. A ninth-grader, Liu Yu, had stabbed Dong in the abdomen with a knife. Public security at the school witnessed the event and heard Dong's cries for help, but did not come to his rescue. Bystanders had called the police. It wasn't until thirty minutes after their arrival that Dong was taken to the hospital. He died shortly thereafter from loss of blood.
Victim's Family Asks for Explanation, Receives Assault
On the morning of June 29, Dong's mother, father, younger sister and other relatives went to the school and asked for an explanation of Dong's death. The school did not allow the family to enter the building. When the family persisted in their efforts to obtain an explanation, school officials called the police. The police beat Dong's mom with an electric baton. When Dong's sister attempted to defend her mom, the police beat her into unconsciousness. Dong's sister was later transported to hospital.
Dong's mom was very upset by the events of the last two days. Youyang police are holding Dong's father in custody. Their stated purpose is to help him to calm down.
Tens of Thousands Protest
On June 29, over a thousand people carrying protest banners had gathered outside of the school. They marched from the south side of the city to the county office building. The banners prominently displayed the badge numbers of the police who had beaten Dong's family. The crowd of supporters grew as passers-by donated money, made additional banners and participated in the protest.
According to Mr. Wu, the county office doors remained closed and no one came out to address the protestors. By evening, over ten thousand people had gathered, blocking traffic in front of the county offices for over ten hours. Protesters destroyed and flipped over a police vehicle in front of the building. Two people were arrested. The area was not cleared of protesters until 3 a.m. the next morning.
“At 9 p.m., there were over 20,000 people protesting,” said Mr. Xiao, an eyewitness. “Everyone was emotional, and some threw water bottles at the police. People didn't leave, even when it started raining. Demonstrations continued until about 3 a.m.”
Media Keeps Silent
People at the demonstration called the media, but no one came to file a report. “I heard that the authorities did not allow this event to be reported. Youyang television station's signal was even turned off,” said Mr. Yang.
“I heard that those individuals who beat Dong were released after they were arrested and that they are now under parental supervision,” said Mr. Shi. “I don't know the exact reason why and the authorities won't publicly disclose it.”
“I heard the murderer has a special relationship with the public security bureau,” said Mr. Yang.