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China: Shock At Beating Death of Executive Who Filmed Police Violence With Mobile Phone

Posted by Author on January 11, 2008

Reporters Without Borders, 10.01.2008-

Reporters Without Borders is appalled by the way a construction company executive, Wei Wenhua, was beaten to death by municipal law enforcement officers known as “chengguan” in Tianmen, in the province of Hubei, on 7 January when he used his mobile phone camera to film them in a violent clash with protesters.

“We are horrified by the readiness of the local authorities to trample on the freedom of information and expression,” the press freedom organisation said. “There was no justification for this behaviour. Wei is the first ‘citizen journalist’ to die in China because of what he was trying to film. He was beaten to death for doing something which is becoming more and more common and which was a way to expose law enforcement officers who keep on overstepping the limits.”

Reporters Without Borders added: “This tragedy shows how the Chinese authority flout freedom of expression every day. They go after anyone who might be ready to report something that is newsworthy. We will ensure that this news item gets reported.”

His family and the state news agency Xinhua said Wei, 43, filmed a group of about 50 “chengguan” in the process of dispersing demonstrators who were protesting against waste-dumping in their neighbourhood. When the “chengguan” realised they were being filmed, they attacked and beat Wei for several minutes before calling an ambulance. He died on the way to hospital. Witnesses said five other people were hospitalised.

Tainmen deputy mayor Wang Faliang admitted at a news conference yesterday that the “chengguan” were responsible for Wei’s death and said 50 people had been assigned to investigate the case. Twenty-four “chengguan” were arrested and charged and four are still being held.

According to an official report, the investigators recovered Wei’s mobile phone but the video he shot had been deleted.

An attempt to redefine the role of the “chengguan” was already under way in measures that took effect on 1 January, as this was not the first time their violent behaviour has embarrassed the authorities. According to the US-based news website Boxun, they often inflict injuries when dispersing demonstrators and were responsible for three deaths in 2007.

More information :
local press review
– an example of police brutality in China:

Original report from Reporters Without Borders

One Response to “China: Shock At Beating Death of Executive Who Filmed Police Violence With Mobile Phone”

  1. Cody said

    The accountability of the police force is a must in any country. I’m not surprised to hear about this coming from China, considering their track record when it comes to freedom.

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