“They Beat Me Until I Was Screaming in Pain”

This is an original translation of a part of this post from 24 hour blogbus. What we’ve translated here are the words of a Zhao Xinhua, a housewife whose family was beaten and whose home was destroyed by masked men in league with the police.


On April 13th, 2009, at around 8pm, my famly was sitting around when suddenly local cadres burst into the room with dozens of steel-helmeted, masked men. They showed no documentation, and didn’t say a word. Two masked me took me (Zhao Xinhua), tied me arms, twisted my neck down to the ground, and kicked and punched me. Another man grabbed my hair and used it to slam my head to the ground, they beat me until I was screaming in pain. Later, they dragged and beat me two hundred meters outside of my house to the door of the police van. Some six or seven others dragged Lu Qingwen, who had just been sleeping, out of bed, held him to the ground, and kicked and stepped on him, then beat him savagely with nightsticks. After that, they put him in irons, dragged him down five flights of stairs and into the street, where they beat him again. They tore his shirt and vest and dragged him the two hundred meters to the police car. We were stuffed in. They didn’t let us sit in seats, we sat on the floor. Dragging our feet, we were taken from our homes barefoot.

More terrifying is that they took our 14 year old son Lu Yongpeng, held his hands behind his back, and kicked and beat him until he was crying and screaming, holding him in the door of the police car. I dearly love my son, and said the child has already broken bones, please let him go, but they just beat him more.

Active-duty serviceman Feng Haiyang was beaten by masked men in cooperation with the police, handcuffed, tasered, and arrested.

My sister’s son Feng Haiyang, a 23 year old active-duty member of the 92054th army in Fujian, also lives with us, and thus had a uniform and military nametag in the house. Around 9 at night, he reported to law enforcement with his mother that our house was about to be bulldozed, but that there were still valuables inside. He asked whether they might report this to higher authorities so that we can get our valuables out, or maybe you can save the house. These pleas were all refused. Feng saw the house demolished with his own eyes. Furious, he pushed through the police lines to enter [the demolitioner’s office], whereupon he was held to the ground and beaten by six or seven masked workers. They hurt him everywhere, until he couldn’t move, at which point he was dragged out and held to the ground while his cell phone was stolen. Finally, they dragged him 200 meters to the police van, squeezed him in, and then attacked him with electrified clubs.


According to the introduction, businessmen were cooperating illegally with the police in the area to evict people and destroy houses, which could then be replaced with new buildings. One gets the impression that the family had no warning whatsoever previous to the home invasion and beating, but I’ll admit I didn’t have time to do more than skim the rest of the article. For the sake of perspective, though, the very end of her post is worth translating: “Today, I [still] truly believe the government was founded for the people. Business was not reformed and opened for illegal real estate practices, so I continue to seek redress, and ask the government to quickly resolve this problem.”

From my perspective, it seems like these stories pop up on Chinese blogs every day or two; on the other hand, the blogs I read are selective, and I’m likely to skip over blog posts about puppies and sunshine. So what do you think? Is this just some local hooligans, or evidence of a much deeper problem, or both? And do you think Zhao will have any luck getting help from the government?

0 thoughts on ““They Beat Me Until I Was Screaming in Pain””

  1. Pingback: Hao Hao Report
  2. This stuff happens all the time in China but we only hear about the tip of the iceberg. The amazing thing is that the people think its not the governments fault. It’s just a few bad policemen and cadres. The truth is it is the system (a one=party dictatorship) that allows this to happen. There’s no opposition party or media to look over the shoulder of arrogant and corrupt officials. Until the system is fixed there is no hope for justice.


  3. The part about the 14 year old is particularly disturbing. But I have difficulty believing that these are simply local hooligans considering how often I hear about these types of situations where thugs are beating citizens and citizens have no opportunity to seek amends. And no, I don’t think Zhao will have any luck getting help from the government. Because that would mean the government has to admit to a problem and probably crack down on a group of business men in China, and in China, economic progress matters more than justice.


  4. Great post! I know there are already some comments about it but…
    Is there any information there about the context in which this happened? for example, have this families been asked to move before or offered any compensation (not justifying this any further violence of course!), are they standing alone while other families have moved? Also, do the people know what developers intend to do with those plots? In the pictures from the original post, those buildings look quite common and even a bit new, what makes it even more impressive since it shows how easily they are discarded to fulfill massive and sometimes useless developments, affecting as we see here vulnerable families. This post is clearly about bringing awareness about corrupted violence, but it also shows how hard is to understand the rights of tenants in China (for both foreigners and Chinese), which is always wrongly and confusingly (*my opinion*) described by saying that land cannot be owned, but the reality is much more complex and sometimes is hard to understand how in some cases families successfully get to hold to their ground and in other cases end up caught in such disgraceful and violent situations.


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