The beating of a teacher by a group of police in China’s Sichuan Province triggered a mass protest of up to 10,000 people last week. After the beating, students marched the county government building, burned property, and demanded that the police be punished.
Yu Hui, a 12th grade teacher of Shehong High School in Shehong County, Suining City of Sichuan Province, was on his way to attend a Youth Day Top Teacher Award ceremony organized by the school on the afternoon of May 3.
After attempting to avoid the approach of one policeman, whom he thought to be a petty criminal, seven policemen charged at Yu, stripped him off his shirt, and began beating him. They never presented their identification as police.
The beating lasted thirty minutes, including a pause in which they handcuffed Yu and dragged him into a car before continuing the beating.
Photos of Yu after the incident show a bloodied face and mouth with sores and welts over the back and chest. Yu was hospitalized and, according to a witness interviewed by New Tang Dynasty Television (NTD), suffered brain hemorrhaging as a result of the attack.
During the incident Yu, the principal of the school, and other teachers yelled at the police that Yu was a teacher there, but they kept striking him. Eventually several teachers smashed the car window and pulled Yu out.
After more police arrived in response to emergency calls, the police who had administered the beating went on to verbally intimidate bystanders, including teachers, students and Yu’s relatives, who were attempting to collect evidence.
By the following day, May 4, news had spread, and a large contingent from the school went to the hospital to check on Yu’s condition.
Beginning at 9pm that evening students, teachers, parents and residents marched to the county government building shouting slogans and waving banners saying, “Police assault the people. We demand justice.”
A teacher identifying himself as Liang spoke to NTD about what happened at the building.
“I could not even make my way in. A county official said we were holding an illegal gathering, which angered students even more. The school principal picked up a microphone and advised students to go back and give the government time to solve the problem.”
An official statement that came out later that evening further infuriated the protesters. They smashed the door of the county government building and burned the county banner saying “Enforcing Law for the People.”
One witness told the Epoch Times that over 10,000 people eventually surrounded the county government building. They also clashed with government staff who threw pot plants at them.
The crowd did not leave until the early morning hours of May 5.
“Even if they were making an arrest by mistake, they shouldn’t have beaten a man like that. Teachers’ and students’ anger has definitely not been appeased,” Liang said.
Government censors quickly removed online information about the incident, and the online forum for Shehong High School on Baidu, a popular Internet service, was blocked.
On May 5 Sichuan News and other Chinese media published an official notice of the event but none mentioned the mass antigovernment protest.