By Ellen Huber
Image credit: @bfishadow.
Beijing police have taken 13 people into custody on Tuesday on suspicion of gossiping and disrupting public order following a protest over a young woman’s recent death, reports China Daily.
The Beijing Municipal Public Safety Bureau stated that on May 3 a woman surnamed Yuan committed suicide by jumping to her death from a clothing market building in Fengtai district. The bureau specifically stated that assault and/or murder are not possible causes of death.
Without any apparent witnesses to support nor negate the bureau’s swift, conclusive statement, gossip surrounding the circumstances of the woman’s death took off. Internet sources spread word that she was raped and murdered by security personnel. Soon after these rumors began circulating on May 8, a protest outside the scene (of the crime?) took place.
Surveillance footage released by police purporting to be of the woman’s last movements only led to further accusations of a coverup after netizens pointed out that the girl’s clothes in the video did not seem to be the same as she was wearing in photos after her death.
The police’s statement goes on to claim that the woman’s boyfriend, surnamed Peng, was behind the public outrage. Reportedly, Peng reached out to citizens of the woman’s hometown of Anhui province as well as former classmates to join him in demanding the truth and exposing a possible shady, PR-driven coverup by the market building.
Peng was among the 13 arrested in Beijing. While in custody, all 13 have reportedly admitted their involvement. The authorities have yet to charge the suspects.