By Erik Crouch
Chen Yuqian’s bruises following the confrontation. Image via SCMP
China’s informal ‘Dirty River Month‘ soldiers on. Last week, villagers in Zhejiang took to Weibo, promising rewards to officials who had the guts to swim in the province’s filthy rivers. Cheeky, sure, but worthy of a mob beating? Apparently so: Chen Yuqian, 60, offered a pollution-endurance reward last Wednesday, and was then attacked by more than 40 angry villagers.
South China Morning Post reports:
[Chen’s] daughter posted photos online showing her father with scratches and bruises on his face. She told SCMP.com the assault was orchestrated by village officials in retaliation for previous petitions about water pollution. […]
Chen Xiufang said her family had campaigned against water pollution in their village for years. In a petition letter also posted online, her family accused Pailian officials of working with two local paper mills to illegally dump industrial waste into waterways. This had polluted the drinking water of more than 200 villagers, she claimed.
Village officials have not commented on the attack. It is unclear if this was a coordinated effort to limit the province’s discussion on pollution, or just an impromptu mob, angry at a whistle-blower.