Suspicious Death Ignites Fury in China

The New York Times reports on gruesome photographs of a dead man which have become an Internet sensation in China:

The man in the photograph, Qian Yunhui, 53, has become the latest Internet sensation in China, as thousands of people viewing the image online since the weekend have accused government officials of gruesomely killing Mr. Qian to silence his six-year campaign to protect fellow villagers in a land dispute. Illegal land seizures by officials are common in China, but the horrific photographs of Mr. Qian’s death on Saturday have ignited widespread fury, forcing local officials to offer explanations in a news conference.

It is the latest in a string of cases in which anger against the government has been fanned by the lightning-fast spread of information online. In late October, the son of a deputy police chief in central China drunkenly drove his car into two college students, killing one and injuring another. His parting phrase as he drove away from the scene of the crime — “Sue me if you dare, my father is Li Gang!” — has since become a byword for official corruption and nepotism.

Officials in the city of Yueqing in Zhejiang Province, which supervises Mr. Qian’s home village, insist that the photographs show nothing more than an unfortunate traffic accident. They made their case in a hastily arranged news conference on Monday afternoon, as the images of Mr. Qian’s death continued proliferating on the Internet. Mr. Qian’s family, some Chinese reporters and residents of Zhaiqiao Village cite the photographs as proof of foul play and a sloppy cover-up.

The photographs, which include graphic detail, can be viewed here.

December 28, 2010 2:24 PM
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