The girlfriend of a man from the central Chinese province of Hunan who was beaten to death in a dispute over compensation for a dog bite has accused the authorities of dragging their feet to protect the relative of a retired ruling Chinese Communist Party official, who owned the dog. Xie Benzong, 24, of the provincial capital Changsha, was driven to the hospital after being bitten by the dog's owner Guo Bin, according to the official Xinhua news agency. Guo turned violent after being asked to pay Xie's medical expenses by police, who left Guo to beat the young man about the chest and head. Xie died five days later from his injuries. Xie’s girlfriend, Wu Haiyu, spoke to RFA's Mandarin Service in a recent interview:
The police claim that they didn't try to pass the buck, but at the time when we first called them out, they had already done so. They told us that they didn't work on weekends. They told us that themselves, that they didn't make arrests on Saturdays and Sundays. Later, they said the suspect had fled into hiding.
After Xie died, the police said they wanted to mediate the case with the Guo family, who sent the wife over. She...handed over some money in compensation.
We didn't want to sign this deal, but then she said that she felt guilty, and she wanted to feel easier in her mind about everything. That's how she explained it to us.
Now the police are trying to let Guo off the hook, saying that an agreement has already been reached, and so on. Surely they are looking after their own, if the police are announcing this.
The more I think about it, the angrier I get, for such a young man of just 24 to die such a cruel death. His skull was smashed out of shape, did you know?
And now the police want to let [Guo] off. We certainly won't be letting this drop.
The police told us that we couldn't hire a lawyer, that we could only do so after the initial court hearing, only after the decision has been reached.
The police are pursuing a case against him. We can't pursue [a criminal case] as we don't have the power to do so.
Guo's friends told me one of his relatives held government office, although they're retired now.
We called the police, and yet [Xie] was still beaten to death by the dog owner. The police are trying to avoid responsibility. What sort of a police force is that?
As citizens, we called the police. But he was still beaten to death.
So what's the point of calling them at all?
Reported by Yang Fan for RFA's Mandarin Service. Translated by Luisetta Mudie.