The local police chief, Wang Qiankui, had Fu brought in to the station and warned him against making any further contacts with the Western press. As he was walking home from the station, Fu was attacked by thugs who beat him so brutally that he broke a cervical vertebra and has since been paralyzed. Although there is no evidence that the attack had anything to do with Fu's brief television appearance, some suspect that he was attacked because party leaders wanted to give the troublemaker a lesson. Fu had already been attacked and seriously injured one year earlier.
Acts of violence against difficult citizens is par for the course in China. As in the Yangtze dam case, money and justice are often at issue. Hundreds of thousands find themselves having to make way for dams, factories and roads, all in the name of the Chinese economic miracle. But instead of benefiting residents, a sizeable share of government compensation ends up in the hands of greedy party officials, prompting angry protests against this form of official corruption.
The government response to the protests has been severe. At least three people were killed in December when security forces fired on villagers objecting to the confiscation of their fields in Dongzhou in the southern province of Guangdong. In Taishi, also in Guangdong Province, thugs seriously injured civil rights activist Lu Banglie following a dispute over village elections in October. The police almost always look the other way.
In Dingzhou, southwest of Beijing, the local party leader hired gangsters in June 2005 to kill six farmers who refused to turn over their land for the construction of a power plant. In February, a journalist was killed in Taizhou, not far from Shanghai, when he was severely beaten by police officers in retribution for his reporting on arbitrary criminal sentences for traffic offenders.
And on and on. Time to go protest Bush again I guess.
The previous article in this series can be found here.