Evictees in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou called on Monday for an inquiry into the death of a local resident who tried to collect a government loan, and the snatching of his body from relatives by several hundred police.
A resident of Nongkou village in the Jianqiao township area of the city surnamed Liang said local resident Wang Linger’s body had been found hanging by the neck in nearby woods after he had gone missing on Friday evening.
“Wang Linger didn’t come back … now he is dead,” Liang said. “I went to the scene to see for myself. His brother had already pulled his body down.”
“He was lying on the ground.”
Liang said Wang had arranged to take out a loan with the local village committee on Friday, had signed the papers but had yet to draw down the money.
Wang’s family was amongst a group of people who had been forcibly evicted from their homes more than two years ago with the promise that they would receive a 200,000 yuan (U.S. $31,362) loan to fund new living arrangements.
Local residents had called on local officials to discuss Wang’s death with them, but met with no response. “Neither the village chief nor the Party Secretary would meet with us,” he said.
“We took the body to the village government offices … then the police came,” Liang said. “Around noon a lot of police came and they snatched Wang Linger’s body away from us.”
“They wouldn’t let us anywhere near it. The whole thing took about five minutes,” he said, adding that there were at least 200 police in the raid. “They moved incredibly fast.”
After the body was taken, villagers set up a table to receive condolences and floral tributes, Liang said. “We set up a tent by the side of the road by the government offices,” he said.
“Then they called the municipal management police and they took everything: the table, the chairs, the tent and canisters of fuel.”
Wang Linger’s brother said his brother had arranged a loan with the local government because he had nothing to live on.
“He wanted to borrow 200,000 yuan (U.S. $31,362) from them because that was the arrangement from higher up—that each evictee would get a loan of 200,000 yuan,” Wang said.
“They had already filled out the paperwork, but he hadn’t received the money yet; they told him to return in a few days’ time,” he added.
“After he got back home, it didn’t seem right. Why would they give him this piece of paper?”
“Then, this happened,” he said, referring to his brother’s death.
“When I got there, I saw him still hanging there and my mind went totally blank,” Wang said. “Afterwards, when I thought about it carefully, there was something not quite right.”
Wang said he suspected his brother had been hanged after his death to make it look like suicide.
“His eyes were closed, and his legs were crooked, so I think that this is extremely suspicious.”
He said around 200-300 police and security guards had snatched Wang Linger’s body from the assembled villagers outside the local government offices, where they had taken the body to demand an explanation.