Shanwei Crackdown Widow Says Her Husband Was Innocent

2006-01-16
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Dongzhou township residents wearing mourning white, kneel before armed police to beg for news or bodies of missing loved ones. Photo: The Epoch Times

HONG KONG—The widow of a man shot dead by police in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong says her husband was unarmed when police opened fire on a crowd of protesters last month, killing her husband first.

"He went out, but didn't take anything with him. He followed the others. That was eight o’clock," Jiang Guangge's widow said in a telephone interview from her home in Dongzhou township, where police opened fire on protesters on the night of Dec. 6, 2005.

My children asked me why their father hasn't come home for so long, and I had to tell them he wouldn't ever come home again.

Jiang's widow denied official versions of events, which laid the blame for the first attacks with home-made weapons on the villagers.

Villagers blamed for violence

"Today, I heard an official [in the village] alleging that Jiang Guangge took home-made explosives to the scene of the clashes. This is completely untrue. He was innocent," she told RFA Mandarin service reporter Ding Xiao.

"He went out on the streets because it had to do with the interests of the whole village," she said.

Police in Dongzhou township near the southern port city of Shanwei opened fire on thousands of angry villagers protesting the compensation they received for land used to build a wind-power plant.

He went out on the streets because it had to do with the interests of the whole village.

Official media says officers fired "in alarm" after being attacked first by an armed mob of more than 170 villagers wielding knives and home-made explosives. Villagers say police fired first on an unarmed crowd.

Officials have confirmed that three people were killed: Jiang Guangge, 35; Wei Jin, 31; and Lin Yidui, 26. Jiang is survived by his wife, two daughters, aged nine and 10, and a five-year-old son.

Authorities continue to round up suspected "instigators" of the clash, Jiang's widow said. "The children and I are scared at night. My children asked me why their father hasn't come home for so long, and I had to tell them he wouldn't ever come home again."

Shot dead on his birthday

"Dec. 6 happened to be Guangge's birthday," she said. "I forgot his birthday. If I could have remembered it, I would have never let him [go] out. Whenever I look at his clothes I cry. He was innocent. He was truly innocent."

Asked how many bullets struck her husband, she said she didn't know. "When I saw him his head was covered with blood and I could not see very clearly," she said.

Jiang Guangge's body was released to his wife the same night. His widow was awarded 500,000 yuan (U.S.$62,500) in compensation, she said. "In the hospital I saw another man who had died with Guangge. As far as I know, the family of the third victim, Wei Jin, received the same amount of compensation [that we did]."

Asked if she would petition authorities to pursue those responsible for her husband's death, Mrs. Jiang, who was unable to convey her given name due to illiteracy said: "I am illiterate and have no ability to do this. They gave me some money, so I have no right to pursue justice. Our children are too small."

Authorities accused her husband of criminal conduct while handing her the compensation money, she said. "No one cares about me, and I cannot visit others because I am newly widowed," she said. With the lunar new year approaching, she said, "I feel even more sorrowful."

Sources in and around Dongzhou township have told RFA that around a dozen families of those who died or who remain missing are being closely monitored by local officials.

"There are village officials sitting watching the homes of those who lost relatives, keeping an eye on their comings and goings," one Dongzhou resident told RFA.

Original reporting in Mandarin by Ding Xiao. RFA Mandarin service director: Jennifer Chou. Written in English by Sarah Jackson-Han and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

Original reporting in Mandarin

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