HONG KONG—A court in the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian has sentenced a local farmer to two and a half years' imprisonment after he spearheaded a complaints process against his local Communist Party secretary.
Lin Jindian from Zhuchuan village was sentenced by a court in Putian City on Aug. 13 found guilty of disturbing public order. His family was not formally notified of his trial and he was not given chance to hire a lawyer, his wife told RFA's Mandarin service in a recent in-depth interview.
"It's all a question of revenge on the part of the village officials because we made complaints against them for the death of Lin Jinxiang," Lin's wife Zhang Zhenzhu told RFA.
Meanwhile, in Wanli village, also in Fujian, more than 380 police, officials, and released convicted criminals descended on local farmers' homes and demolished them in a bitter eviction dispute, a rights group said.
The New York-based Human Rights in China said that more than 380 people, including police and thugs recently released from labor camps, used bulldozers to flatten three homes and cut off water supply as a warning to local families not to continue their protest.
Lin Jinxiang, the elder brother of Lin Jindian, was arrested in 1998 after he had become a key figure in a local campaign to bring down his village Party secretary for corruption. He was severely beaten by other inmates at the detention center, and died a month later in hospital of his injuries, his wife said.
"They put him in Room 6 with a bunch of drug addicts for four or five days, and they beat him. When he came out, he died in hospital," Zhang said.
"We were unhappy with our local village officials because they really were too corrupt...They embezzled public money, didn't stick to regulations, and levied too many taxes. There was a scam with a school...and they let a band of thugs set up a casino and night-club, all sorts of things...It was a single official, Lin Jinyuan."
The village boss had been suspended but was later reinstated, and specialized in selling permission to give birth under China's draconian family planning regulations, she said. " So if you want to have a child you give him money and then you can. It costs 20,000 yuan . The county government turns a blind eye."
"Around 30 or 40 families got together to complain about them. Lin Jinxiang ended up taking on the complaint on their behalf because he was the most lively and articulate among us... but finally they were all intimidated, and Lin Jinxiang was the only person still pursuing the complaint," Zhang said.
When Lin Jinxiang died, his brother took up the cudgel with the authorities traveling to county, city, and provincial governments, and finally to the capital Beijing with his complaints.
"The complaint affected the township officials and they came to our village to retaliate, too. The whole thing just got worse and worse," Zhang told RFA.
Zhang said her husband, Lin Jindian, was arrested illegally with no legal formalities.
"They tried to get him to go to the township in August, on the pretext of sorting things out, but he wouldn't go. Finally around 50 of them showed up, police and plainclothes officers and dragged him away. They didn't have a single legal proceeding," she said.
"I went to the police station and asked where he was, and every single one of them said they didn't know where he was. Then, on Feb. 12, they told me, ‘Your husband has been formally arrested, and the documents were sent to our home on Feb. 20. The charge was disturbance of public order," Zhang added.
On the Web
Human Rights in China report on Fujian demolitions
UN Special Rapporteur report on China's torture record