China Defends Detention of Lead Poisoning Victims who Sought Medical Help
More than fifty lead poisoning victims have been detained for six months in China after their bus was pulled over as they went for health checks. The Guardian reports:
Police in Jiahe, Hunan province, blocked a bus carrying 53 villagers who were on their way to get health checks last September, according to Chinese media.
Mistakenly believing the villagers were planning to protest, the police have detained two of them for the six months since on the charge of “disrupting traffic”. Though it has since been proved that they and their children were contaminated by illegal emissions of heavy metals from a smelting factory, the local government was unapologetic.
“We may have blocked the wrong visit, but they should not have been on that road,” Li Ying, deputy secretary of Jiahe county political and legislative committee told the Beijing News, which today published an investigation into the incident.
Ou Shudong, the chairman of the local People’s Congress, told the newspaper the police roadblock and detentions were justified. “The villagers’ intentions were unclear. Even if they were going for a medical examination, they should have informed the government.”
Read about another recent lead poisoning case in Sichuan.