Seven women from Gansu province’s Hui county (徽县) have claimed they were beaten up and stripped of their clothing by men dressed in black clothing, while trying to report corruption by officials.
The women arrived in Beijing on April 27th to report the misappropriation of earthquake relief funds that were connected to the 2008 Sichuan earthquake (neighboring Gansu province was the second worst hit province, with 365 deaths).
On Sunday, the women posted a message on Sina’s Weibo service that described how they were physically assaulted, stripped down to their underwear in public, and then sent back to Hui county in a van.
Shanghai Daily got a retelling of the ordeal with Liu Xiuhua, one of the seven women assaulted in Beijing:
After 30 minutes waiting at the entrance of the Gansu provincial government’s Beijing office in Dunhuang 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 woman 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.”
During the long journey, the van made no stops to allow the women to use the toilet, Liu said.
The women were dropped off at Hui county’s police bureau, where the local policemen took no action against the men who abducted the women. The policemen reportedly told the women, ‘You deserve this’. In addition to all the women being left with bruises, one is also suffering a broken leg.
The women wouldn’t be alone in meeting trouble for alleging corruption associated with the Sichuan earthquake. In 2009, Ai Weiwei sought emergency medical attention in Munich after he was attacked by police on August 12th of that year. Ai was in Chengdu attending the trial of Tan Zuoren when the attack occurred. Tan and Ai were working to uncover the names of schoolchildren who died in the Sichuan earthquake, in order to expose shoddy school construction, as part of their Sichuan Earthquake Names Project.