A family in Shaanxi Province has accused police of beating their 19-year-old son to death while trying to force a murder confession out of him. The son, Xu Gengrong, was held for an eight day interrogation and died shortly afterward in a hospital.
Xu was the primary suspect in the murder investigation of Peng Lina, a female classmate at Xu’s high school. Peng was found dead on February 10 and Xu was taken in for questioning on February 28. According to police, Xu confessed to the murder on March 1, but mysteriously died a week later.
From Shanghai Daily:
On March 8, he suddenly became short of breath and his pulse weakened while he was being questioned, authorities said. He was then sent to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Xu’s family holds police responsible for their son’s death and added that the police hadn’t provided sufficient evidence of Xu’s guilt in the murder. Police officials said that Xu’s confession was not their only evidence, but provided the newspaper with none other than that Xu and Peng had been lovers, which established a motive for the crime.
The results of an autopsy will be released in 10 days, though the family has already agreed to a compensation package and received 120,000 rmb.
The death is the third case of mysterious prison dealings reported in the last month, and comes just days after a former justice official criticized police for forcing confessions through torture. Ex-vice minister of justice Duan Zhengkun told China Daily that “Dentention houses should not be managed by public security departments, because they make the arrests, and sometimes torture the accused to force them to confess.”
Last week, a 57-year-old prisoner in Hainan province was allegedly beaten to death by fellow inmates for refusing to take a shower. The head and deputy head of the Danzhou detention center, as well as a police officer, have been detained as investigators figure out why the violence wasn’t stopped.
Also recently, a 24-year-old farmer died after what police called a game of “eluding the cat.” Netizen outrage over the “official explanation” prompted a controversial re-investigation into the matter. Government channels finally confirmed in early March that the man had been assaulted by other prisoners.
Previously on Shanghaiist:
Student starts fight with six policemen in Harbin, gets beaten to death
The mysterious deathbed confession of the Kunming bomber
Alleged police murderer stands trial
Photo from China Daily BBS.