Police Fail to Rescue Teenage Victim of Beijing Storm

July 27, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
on Beijing's mountainous southwestern outskirts
This photo taken on July 26, 2012, shows the damaged homes in the worst-hit area of Fangshan, on Beijing's mountainous southwestern outskirts. Distraught residents reported cars being swept away and said many people were still missing. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Jia Xiaohan, 19, was driving home with her stepmother and younger sister in the Fangshan District of Beijing on July 21 at around 7 p.m., when they encountered flood waters.

They got out of the car and managed to grab hold of a nearby tree by climbing on top of the car roof. Stepmother Li Yujie called 110 (China’s emergency phone number) and informed the police of their whereabouts.

But soon, both the mother and younger sister were swept away by the flood current, leaving Jia on her own to call the girls’ father and aunt for help.

After receiving Li’s phone call, Jia’s father Jia Donghui, who was working at a faraway location, called 110 immediately.

An hour later, two policemen arrived at the scene but did not attempt to find her.

Jia Donghui then called the fire department for help. Four hours later, at midnight, the fire department finally contacted him to ask for the location of his daughter. Six firefighters were dispatched to the scene but did not do anything to rescue her either, Jia Donghui said.

When he called 110 again, he was transferred to the Shilou Township Police Station. The policemen there told him, “We only have 12 people. We don’t have time.”

At around 10 p.m., relatives were finally able to locate Jia’s stepmother, Li Yujie, and devised a way to rescue her.

Jia Donghui said, “After midnight, we found a telephone cable and tied one end of it to the house, and the other end to a tree. We held the telephone cable and started making our way further. The water reached all the way up to my neck. After walking for about 100 meters, we found Jia’s stepmother and rescued her.”

“But where are my daughters? No one is rescuing them. I called the police already!” cried Li when she heard that the girls were still missing.

The younger daughter was rescued by fellow villagers at around 5 a.m. the next morning, after having being trapped for 10 hours.

Two days later, at around 3 p.m. on July 24, Jia Xiaohan’s body was found.

“My daughter is the only one missing from Shilou Township. The local government hasn’t even called me up until now. No one [from the government] came,” said Jia Donghui.

He added that he does not believe the initial figures released by Chinese authorities. “Reports say 37 have died, that’s impossible. The deaths in Fangshan District alone have surpassed this number. On the first day [July 22], I went to the Xiaozhuang Forensic Center to look for my daughter. There were more than 40 corpses there.”

On July 26, state-run media announced that the number of fatalities from the Beijing storm had increased to 77 people.

Read the original Chinese article.

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