11/25/2009, 00.00
Send to a friend

Chinese police officers sentenced to less than 3 years in prison for torturing young man to death

The central government convicts the officers for abuse of power against a 19-year-old student. The latter wanted to extract a murder confession from him. In three months, 15 people die in Chinese prisons.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – China’s central government sentenced four police agents to less than three years in prison for torturing to death a high school student in the northern province of Shaanxi. The fate of the young man and the arrest and light sentence inflicted on his killers has generated a new debate about conditions in China’s prisons. News that the four police agents were released was confirmed last night by state news agency Xinhua.

The charges against the four men included criminal abuse of power. The four admitted using torture to extract a confession from 19-year-old student Xu Gengrong. He was detained on 1 March of this year for allegedly taking part in the murder of a female student. He died from injuries he suffered during seven days of detention.

Local authorities tried to cover up the whole affair. When Xu’s family saw the body, they found clear evidence of torture. In order to convince them to remain silent, local Communist leaders gave Xu’s father US$ 17,500 for funeral costs, promising other “benefits” for the whole family.

On 28 March, the official autopsy found that he had “died of a heart problem, trauma and fatigue”. However, the young man’s family refused to give up. They dug up his body, put it into a refrigerated coffin and pushed for a further investigation.

A second autopsy found that Xu had abrasions, swollen wrists and bleeding inside the skull. A medical practitioner who took part in the examination believed Xu did receive food or drink for a long while because only 10 millilitres of liquid were found in his stomach.

Locals joined the family to demand justice. An internal investigation pointed the finger at six police officers for killing the young man.

Now however the verdict has reignited the controversy, partly because 15 other people also died between January and March of this year. Seven of them were beaten to death; three committed suicide and two died in “accidents”. The cases of the other three are still under investigation.

A United Nations investigation into China’s prison system found that torture was widely used.  Although Beijing pledged to take action to stamp out abuses of power by local police, many “confessions” used to convict and sentence religious leaders and civil rights activists remain highly suspicious.

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Three sentenced to death on hunger strike: the failure of Chinese justice
Sumatra: fundamentalists kill three police officers in revenge attack
Coptic Orthodox priest beating by Israeli police
Lahore, Christian condemned to death for 'blasphemy on Whatsapp'
16/09/2017 10:37
Ex PM Khin Nyunt sentenced to a 44 years suspended prison term


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”