Radio Free Asia: Chinese Petitioner 'Tortured' During Detention by Beijing Police

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Radio Free Asia

A petitioner detained by Beijing police at a gathering during last week's National Day holiday in the Chinese capital has described being tortured during his detention.

Li Xinhua was detained at a gathering of petitioners, ordinary Chinese who pursue complaints against the government, at the home of Ge Zhihui on Oct. 1.

"I was having a meal at a friend's home, when three police officers came bursting in," Li said. "I asked them to show some ID, and then several more came over."

A petitioner accused by the government of "blackmail" is held
in detention in Inner Mongolia, Oct. 2015.
(Photo courtesy of Center for Human Rights and Development)
"They threw me outside and broke my ribs, and my right arm has been in a lot of pain since then," he said. "A bit later, they took me down to the police station where they tied me by the arms, legs and waist to a metal chair and put manacles on me."

Li said he was kept in a small cell after that.

"They had realized I had broken bones, but they still forced me to wear manacles until Oct. 3, when they took them off and released me," Li said.

He said police had refused to allow any medical treatment for his injuries.

"They tried to pass the buck, and told me I could go and get treatment myself," Li said. "I said I didn't have any money and they ... said 'see a doctor if you want to.'"

Ge said she and Li had tried to complain about his treatment to various police departments in Beijing, to no avail.

"They're not likely to admit responsibility," Ge said. "The doctor has booked him in to hospital on Oct. 8, and they want a deposit of 40,000 yuan, and he's on subsistence payouts from the government."

"He doesn't have a cent, but his shoulder is in the wrong place and several ribs are broken," she said. "The doctor said he would be disabled if it's not treated."

Ge said Li was beaten up by officers from the Yuegezhuang police station in southwestern Beijing, including the head of the police station.

"They dragged him out of the apartment and beat him up, pinning his arms and kneeling on his neck and pelvis," Ge said.

"When they were done beating him, they detained him and kept me under house arrest here in my home," she said.

An officer who answered the phone at the Yuegezhuang police station hung up after hearing he had been contacted by RFA.

Calls to the personal cell phone of police station chief Zhang Zhanhui rang unanswered on Wednesday.

Repeatedly stonewalled

China’s army of petitioners say they are repeatedly stonewalled, detained in “black jails,” beaten, and harassed by authorities if they try to take complaints against local government actions to higher levels of government.

Many have been trying to win redress for alleged cases of official wrongdoing, including forced evictions, beatings in custody, and corruption linked to lucrative land sales, for decades.

Petitioners in Inner Mongolia said two of their numbers had recently been accused of "blackmail," in charges they say are a form of retaliation for complaints about them.

Lawyers for petitioners Liu Yanwen and Zhao Yanbo, a married couple, said they have applied to the state prosecutor's office for the charges to be dropped.

"We happened to get a prosecutor with a conscience, who seems to be of the opinion that this couple did nothing that could be construed as blackmail," their lawyer Shu Xiangxin told RFA.

"They are not guilty, but the local officials in this place have been interfering in the case," Shu said.

Sichuan-based rights activist Huang Qi, founder of the Tianwang rights website, said the government routinely persecutes anyone who dares to use the country's "letters and visits" complaints system to highlight alleged wrongdoing.

"The authorities have been using charges of blackmail against petitioners, many of whom are asking for compensation for alleged wrongs done to them by the government," Huang said.

"The authorities are using it as a weapon to turn on petitioners," he said.

Reported by Xin Lin for RFA's Mandarin Service and by Hai Nan for the Cantonese Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.

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