Farmer Who Sparked Surveillance Costs Row Detained, Unconscious in Hospital Bed

2017-03-14
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Screenshot of footage supplied by relatives of farmer-turned-petitioner Wang Fengyun after she was beaten unconscious by police following her trial in Inner Mongolia's Duolun county, March 14, 2017.
Screenshot of footage supplied by relatives of farmer-turned-petitioner Wang Fengyun after she was beaten unconscious by police following her trial in Inner Mongolia's Duolun county, March 14, 2017.
Photo sent by Wang's family.

Authorities in the northern Chinese region of Inner Mongolia have redetained an activist beaten unconscious by police, taking her from her hospital bed without treatment, and detained three of her relatives after they complained, relatives said on Tuesday.

Wang Fengyun, the petitioner at the heart of a row over a local government surveillance budget in Inner Mongolia's Duolun County, was beaten up by court police on Monday shortly after her trial on public order charges adjourned.

She was taken to a nearby hospital, where she remained in a comatose state surrounded by relatives.

Footage supplied by relatives showed Wang motionless, connected by tubes and monitors to hospital equipment, with a doctor performing an electrocardiogram (ECG).

Later, a group of around a dozen uniformed officers is seen jostling around a hospital bed, with heated exchanges with civilians standing nearby.

A group of officers then escorts one of the relatives down a corridor as she screams, before scuffling with a man filming her detention on his cell phone.

Around the same time, Wang Fengyun had been forcibly taken from her hospital bed by police with no medical treatment, her brother told RFA on Tuesday.

"The doctor diagnosed her with sinus tachycardia," Wang's brother Wang Fenglong told RFA. "But while my sister was still unconscious, the police from the Duolun County People's Court forcibly took Wang Fengyun away, and wouldn't allow them to treat her."

'Comatose state'

Police also detained three other family members, he said.

"Around that time, my sister Wang Fenghua, [her husband] Zhang Huan and Wang Fengyun's daughter demanded that she be treated, because she was still in a comatose state," Wang Fenglong said.

"But the Duolun county police refused to listen, and detained all three of them separately," he said.

Wang's lawyer Wang Fei said he was still in the court writing up notes when Wang Fenghua shouted to her relatives at the main entrance to the Duolun county court that she was being beaten up.

"I didn't actually see them beat her unconscious," Wang Fei said."When I went out there, Wang Fengyun was lying on the ground, and she has remained comatose since being taken to the hospital."

Wang Fengyun, from a farming community in Xilingol League near the border with neighboring Mongolia, stood trial on charges of "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble" at the Duolun County People's Court on Monday.

Footage shot by relatives showed Wang Fengyun lying immobile and unconscious on a stretcher surrounded by uniformed police officers, and lying in the ambulance being cared for by paramedics with a police escort.

The attack on Wang came after the Duolun county government said it had spent U.S. $48,650 on round-the-clock surveillance of the petitioner, who made nine trips to Beijing to complain about a land grab by local government.

Detained after petitioning

Wang and her father Wang Xingshu and husband Zhang Shufeng were detained last September following a petitioning trip to Beijing, all on the same charges.

They were charged after the three of them traveled to Beijing to lodge a complaint against officials in their local government over the loss of their land to a highway development.

According to their lawyers, the government took over their land and built a road on it from 2011-2013, but a land requisition order was issued by the government only on June 16, 2015.

The family's complaint was that the local government had acted illegally.

The ruling Chinese Communist Party's domestic security budget was last reported in 2013 at U.S. $130 billion, when it exceeded military spending.

Since then, no further figures have been forthcoming for the cost of nationwide operations—known collectively as the "stability maintenance system"—aimed at curbing mass protests, petitions, and other forms of peaceful dissent.

According to official figures, some six million complaints are registered against the government across the country every year, which would result in a nationwide bill of roughly U.S. $146 billion if half of those petitioners incurred costs similar to Wang's.

Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.
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Anonymous Reader

What we know for sure is that the PRC's annual domestic security budget is way over $100 billion and probably closer to $200 billion, and it rivals the country's military budget, which has seen double-digit increases most years over the past three decades.

Mar 17, 2017 06:18 PM

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