The Nanfang / Blog


One Dead in Maoming Protest, Contradicting Government Denials

Posted: 04/17/2014 8:00 am

Wen Wanbin slept during the day on March 30 and finished work at 1:48am at a KTV parlor in Maoming. Wen left work 12 minutes earlier than his usual sign-off time because his friend Jiang Xicai asked if he wanted to go and “watch a scene”.

The scene Jiang was referring to was the anti-paraxylene (PX) protest. Thousands of Maoming residents were rallying against a RMB 3.5 billion PX plant.

But when the crowds subsided, Wen never made it home, and his friend Jiang was left with severe brain damage. Liu Xiangnan (刘向南), a vocal journalist, went to personally find out about Wen’s death days later. That’s when Jiang recalled the sound of sticks forcefully swooping down at them when driving towards the protesting area near the city’s government building. At first, they ducked a few, but soon they fell off their motorcycle, causing the tragedy.

Wen’s death was confirmed by Liu when he went to Wen’s village and interviewed Jiang and Wen’s parents and colleagues. This was the first telling case against the government’s insistent denial that Wen’s death and Jiang’s injury were “a mere traffic accident” instead of police brutality.

The Maoming police department said in a press conference on April 3 that the “accident” was caused by reckless driving without a license, and reports of police brutality were “sheer rumors”.

More than half a month after the protest first erupted in Maoming, the protest spilled over to Guangzhou. But so far, the police have denied any deaths caused by police during the protests.

Liu’s original post can be seen below:

But minutes after he made the post on Weibo at 11:43pm on April 15, it was deleted. Liu received a notification from Weibo saying the post has been encrypted and is blocked from the public.

Here is a screen grab of the notification:

 Home page photo: Wen Wanbin’s mother. Photo credit: Liu Xiangnan 

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