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Officials Conclude Self-Inflicted Injury in Fu Xiancai Case

July 26, 2006

Human
Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that the official Chinese investigation into
the assault of Three Gorges petitioner Fu Xiancai has concluded that his
injuries were self-inflicted. Fu was paralyzed from the shoulders down after a
blow to the back of his neck so severe that three of his vertebrae were
shattered, and doctors reportedly expect him to never regain use of his legs. Fu
Xiancai and his family have questioned the fairness of the investigation from
the beginning, as the authority assigned to conduct the investigation
reportedly previously sanctioned and colluded in harassment against Fu.


Sources in
China told HRIC that on July 26, the head of the Zigui County Public Security
Bureau’s forensics department, surnamed Yang, accompanied by police officer
Wang Erhu and Yangguidian Village Committee head Wang Yuncheng, summoned Fu
Xiancai’s son, Fu Bing, to the Yichang Central PSB dispatch station. Yang
reportedly notified Fu Bing of the results of the investigation:

  • The
    PSB had brought in several nationally recognized forensic pathologists to
    examine Fu Xiancai’s injuries, and these experts had concluded that the
    injuries were self-inflicted;

  • The
    local PSB had also carried out an investigation of the scene of the attack, and
    had found no footprints other than those of Fu Xiancai;

  • On
    the basis of this evidence, the PSB concluded that Fu had not been injured by
    someone else, and that no criminal act had been committed.

Sources say
that on the same morning, Zigui County PSB criminal investigations squad leader
Hu Xuelong, accompanied by two police officers and Yangguidian Village PSB
Division head Wan Xiankui, visited Fu Xiancai in his hospital ward for more
than two hours. During that visit, the officials reportedly informed Fu that
his injuries had been officially determined to be self-inflicted. They also
reportedly told Fu not to appeal this decision or file a new complaint, even
though the written “Conclusion of Investigation” given to Fu Xiancai states
clearly that he has the right to appeal the decision.

Fu
Xiancai’s family members have from the outset objected to the investigation of
the assault on Fu Xiancai being handled by the Zigui County Public Security Bureau
under the direction of bureau head Jia Li, given that the Zigui County PSB had
reportedly been involved in incidents of harassment against Fu:

  • Fu
    had reported at several earlier incidents of harassment and threats in 2005 and
    2006 to the Zigui County PSB without result;

  • In
    August 2005, Zigui County PSB head Jia Li and more than 20 others had
    intercepted Fu and other petitioners when they attempted to go to Beijing;

  • A
    month later, after again intercepting Fu and other petitioners on their way to Beijing, Zigui
    County
    officials and PSB
    officers reportedly stood by and watched as a group of village cadres assaulted
    Fu and the other petitioners.

According
to HRIC’s sources, when Fu Bing again raised the demand that Jia Li should be
removed from the case, Yang told him that the authorities had no obligation to
respond to family members because they lacked legal standing in Fu Xiancai’s
case. Sources say that when Fu Bing asked to be told the names of the forensic
pathologists and their institutions,
Yang told
him that there were many experts involved in the assessment, and that he was
under no obligation to disclose their names. Yang also refused to answer
further questions about the case.

HRIC is
strongly concerned about the independence, accuracy and fairness of the Zigui
PSB’s investigation into Fu Xiancai’s assault. The Zigui PSB is abusing its
investigatory mandate by unlawfully pressuring Fu Xiancai to forgo any
legitimate appeals process and refusing to disclose the experts who determined
that Fu could have single-handedly struck himself from behind with such force
as to shatter three of his vertebrae. In light of strong international
concern and attention to Fu’s case, HRIC calls on the provincial authorities to
remove the Zigui PSB’s authority in this case and order a new, transparent and
independent investigation.


Background

Fu Xiancai
was paralyzed from the shoulders down after suffering a blow to the back of the
neck from an unidentified assailant on June 8 shortly after he was called to
the Zigui County Public Security Bureau (PSB) for questioning regarding an
interview he had provided to a German television station. The attack was the
latest in a string of harassment and threats Fu had suffered over the course of
more than a year because of his petitioning on behalf of villagers resettled
for the Three Gorges Dam project. Fu underwent surgery to shattered vertebrae
on June 18 after the German government offered to pay for his medical
treatment, but he has regained movement only in his arms.