Friday, January 11, 2008
Headlines: Man Beaten to Death in China
Citizen journalist, Wei Wenhua, was beaten to death when he attempted to film an altercation between city inspectors and protesting villagers in Hubei Province, China. The protest occurred over waste being dumped near the homes of the villagers. Fighting began when the villagers attempted to prevent the officials from unloading garbage from several trucks. When Wei pulled out his cell phone to record the protest, over fifty municipal inspectors turned on him, beating him for approximately five minutes. Wei was pronounced dead on arrival at the Tianmen hospital.
The beating is being condemned by China’s Xinhua news agency, Northeat News, and Reporters Without Borders, an international press freedom group. “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 their limits,” the group said in a statement to the Associated Press.
In light of the beating, Qi Zhengjun, an official in central China, was fired. Chen Yizhong, a Xinhua columnist, asked why this type of violence isn’t met with harder restrictions. “Cities need administration but urban administrators [such as Zhengjun] need to be governed by law first.”
Police have detained twenty-four inspectors and are investigating more than a hundred others in regard to the death of Wei Wenhua.