Women seeking rights were ‘stripped, beaten’ in Beijing

Seven women say they were beaten up by a group of men all dressed in black after they went to Beijing from Gansu Province’s Hui County to allege corruption over earthquake relief funds.

The women published an online post yesterday in a microblog on weibo.com to tell of their humiliating experience on April 27 by the men who beat them, stripped them down to their underwear in public, and sent them back to Hui County in a van overnight without even allowing them to use the toilet during a journey which was many hours long.

One witness, who described himself as a retired soldier in his 80s, wrote on the microblog: “When I saw them beating the women, I scolded them for acting like bandits. It was the most horrible, shameful, and barbarous scene I have ever seen in my life.”

In a telephone interview, 43-year-old Liu Xiuhua, one of the seven women, told Shanghai Daily they had arrived at the Dunhuang Plaza in Beijing at 3pm on April 27 planning to report a number of county officials for corruption involving relief funds released after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, which also affected Gansu.

After 30 minutes waiting at the entrance of the Gansu provincial government’s Beijing office in the plaza, more than 20 men arrived in two vans and demanded that they get into the vehicles.

“The office said they were policemen, but we saw some of them with tattoos all over their bodies,” said Liu.

The men dragged an 80-year-old women into the van and stripped the clothing off four others in the plaza, in front of several male security guards and office workers, said Liu.

“They kicked and punched us for over 30 seconds before we were all thrown into the van,” Liu said. “Then the engine started, I was sitting beside a woman who was beaten into a coma and the leader of the men kept punching and scolding us.”

She didn’t know how long it took them to arrive at their hometown in Hui County, but when they arrived, it was already nightfall on April 28.

During the long journey, the van made no stops to allow the women to use the toilet, Liu said.

According to the women’s online post, the van dropped the women off at Hui County’s police bureau.

The policemen there took no action against the men but just watched them leave.

Of the local police and county officials, Liu said: “They told us that ‘you deserve this’ and said the case was closed.”

Another woman, Wang Caihong, supported Liu’s account on the microblog.

One of the victims had a broken leg and others suffered bruising to their bodies.

Officials with the Hui County government could not be reached yesterday.

http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90776/90882/7394788.html

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