Beijing (AsiaNews) - A man from Fuzhou died last week
after unidentified thugs severely beat him and forcibly injected him with toxic
chemicals. Mao Qiping, 58, had spent two years petitioning the central
government seeking redress after his ancestral home was demolished in Fuzhou
(Fujian), friends and supporters said. Mao had also led others in a fight
against illegal land seizures by local Communist officials.
Under Chinese law, any citizen has the right to
petition the central government if he or she feels their rights have been violated
by local government. Despite its widespread use across the country, provincial
officials are increasingly opposed to it because they might lose their job (and
liberty) if their bosses found out about their crimes.
On 12 June, several unidentified men holding metal rods
followed Mao as he went to work, said Li Kuichun, a friend of the dead man. When
they reached him, they beat him until he became semiconscious. They then held
down as a toluene solution was injected into his legs.
After that, Mao was dumped in a ditch where he was
found by farmers the next day. Although he was taken to hospital, he died two
days later. "They wanted to make it look like he fell," Li said.
Police in Fuzhou, Li explained, told Mao's relatives
that he fell to his death and threatened to prosecute anyone who disputed their
When Li saw Mao at the hospital, he was
semi-conscious, but insisted on telling him the truth.
After Mao's death, villagers took his body to a
government office for further investigation into the cause of death, but more
than 100 plain-clothes police officers and security guards stormed the office
and took away the body.
Mao's death came a few days after that of Li Wangyang,
a leading figure in the Tiananmen Square protests. The latter was found dead on
5 June, hanged in his hospital room, which police had placed under guard.
In that case, police ruled that it was suicide and
proceeded immediately to cremate the body to destroy the evidence.