Authorities have fired an official in central China after city inspectors beat to death a man who filmed their confrontation with villagers, China’s Xinhua news agency reports. The killing has sparked outrage in China, with thousands expressing outrage in Chinese Internet chat rooms, often the only outlet for public criticism of the government. The incident has also alarmed advocates of press freedom, who say municipal authorities had no right to attack a man for simply filming them. Police have detained 24 municipal inspectors and are investigating more than 100 in the death of Wei Wenhua, a 41-year-old construction company executive, Xinhua reported on Friday. On Monday Wei happened on a confrontation in the central Chinese province of Hubei between city inspectors and villagers protesting over the dumping of waste near their homes.

A scuffle developed when residents tried to prevent trucks from unloading the rubbish, Xinhua said. When Wei took out his cell phone to record the protest, more than 50 municipal inspectors turned on him, attacking him for five minutes, Xinhua said. Wei was dead on arrival at a Tianmen hospital, the report said. Qi Zhengjun, chief of the urban administration bureau in the city of Tianmen, lost his job over the incident, Xinhua reported Friday. “Wei is the first ‘citizen journalist’ to die in China because of what he was trying to film,” the group said in a statement. “He was beaten to death for doing something which is becoming more and more common and which was a way to expose law-enforcement officers who keep on overstepping their limits.”

  1. keane-o says:

    Not certain how many nations where you think we shouldn’t halt trade for being “etc.”? I’d be hard pressed to think of 2 or 3 where citizens haven’t been killed by coppers for getting in the way – very recently. Including that great nation-state of NYC.

    The original article in China’s state news service is at

  2. Jägermeister says:

    Powertripping… not unusual in China. 🙁

    I might be blind, but where does it say that Wei Wenhua was a blogger except for CNN’s headline? It says that he was a 41-year-old construction company executive.

  3. ZZ says:

    This shows you how little control the central government has over the local emperors. In smaller towns they have lot of power and if you try to go to Beijing to complain, you will probably never get there alive. Now the police is handling the case and in the end the communist party will tell them how to sentence the thugs. That will be good since the crime will get it’s punishment but bad because it might not be the people who were responsible. Anyway, this is tarnishing the party’s image, so expect harsh punishments.

  4. XKCD Fan says:

    Better raise that last number to 3 now…

  5. McCullough says:

    @2. If you think most bloggers do this for a living…think again.

  6. Jägermeister says:

    #5 – McCullough

    Did I claim that? The point is… If it was so essential that he was a blogger in the headline, then why wasn’t it mentioned in the text? Or perhaps having a link to his blog?

    Google News with “Blogger”
    Google News without “Blogger” (I’m sure you’re smart enough to deduct the hits from the with “blogger”.)

    I might be wrong…

  7. Mister Catshit says:

    I’m hoping that this is a sign that things are changing in China.

  8. Judge Jewdy says:

    New seafood – Crushed Asians

  9. MikeN says:

    Why is China being singled out? It can happen in the US too. It is already happening in Canada, with all their human rights commissions shutting down freedom of speech. And of course, the US also has people that push for these human rights commissions, and other anti-speech laws.

  10. TIHZ_HO says:

    #9 MikeN – You’re correct. China gets singled out because of the frustration people have regarding their economy and loss of livelihood because of Chinese exports. Instead they should be venting their frustration at companies who decided on their own to move manufacturing offshore to China – to save money and lower prices.

    To listen to the way people talk its as if China has threatened the world in such a way that the world must accept Chinese exports – or else! LOL

    With regard to all things socially wrong with China one ignores the progress China has made in just the last twenty years. It is as if you got a 96% on a math test and your dad asks you what happened to the other 4%? (Sopranos)

    For all those whom are quick to criticize China for its failures in human rights look to your own country and ask how long did it take…and is everything perfect now? It took the US over 140 years to free the slaves…or is that still a WIP? “Why can’t we all just get along?”


  11. GF says:

    I guess the fist is mightier than the pen in Wei’s case.

    #10 TIHZ_HO – “Instead they should be venting their frustration at companies who decided on their own to move manufacturing offshore to China – to save money and lower prices.”
    That’s funny coming from an expat American now living in China. So, we should be pissed at YOU.

  12. TIHZ_HO says:

    #11 GF




  13. TIHZ_HO says:

    #12 GF – I thought about what you said and yes I am an American Expat in China BUT the only products I export are synthetic leather raw materials and pearlescent pigments used in manufacturing.

    So…I am not the guy to be completely pissed at. 😉

    On another note India, Indonesia and Vietnam are some other countries to watch out for.


  14. moss says:

    Well, discussion has actually strolled along with more accuity than these cynical eyes expected.

    The US Constitution isn’t 300 years old; yet – it serves as an example to many nations and cultures regardless of where they’ve presently grown to – coming from their own unique roots and history.

    For most of its life, our nation sustained slavery, no franchise for citizens based on gender – the courts chartered to enforce it most often worked to limit human freedom.

    We have a government of thugs in power at the moment who would scrap what advances the Constitution offered. And it’s going to be a long hard row to hoe to get back what we’ve lost from the political spirit of this nation – that sense of free speech and thought being a right for all.

    Do we have a responsibility to advance that cause – and in the future, fight to expand and update our Constitution to include all we now know – compared to 1775? You bet.

    Do we have a responsibility to advance democracy not only as we see it; but, as other nations and cultures do from their unique and individual perspectives? I would hope so.

    Does our history as a nation founded within a racist economy, as a land claiming the hemisphere as our private economic hunting preserve, as a culture often assigning ourselves the role of Cop of the World on behalf of Wall Street and Redneck rationales – allow us to act as sole arbiter of every other nation’s foibles and reactionary foolishness? Not on your tintype, Nelly.

  15. MikeN says:

    I would consider Canada a greater threat to free speech today than China. Perhaps even America has greater restrictions. It’s not so much what the legal limits are, though in Canada and Europe that’s a huge problem, but rather the expectations from society. You can’t do proper research in America if you break certain rules of speech, while China they are free to research everything without having to worry about politics.

  16. Mister Catshit says:

    #15, Mental Midget MikeN,

    I would consider Canada a greater threat to free speech today than China.

    Say what??? You mean Canada is now worse than Iceland?

    Don’t you have some examples to demonstrate your title of Mental Midget?

  17. Ah_Yea says:

    My two Yuan here..

    Believe me, China is not perfect. I am helping in a business there (which does not export, in China solely for China) and believe me that each city is it’s own kingdom. Very much like how we have states here in the US, their cities fill much the same purpose (you notice that the article stated the city and not the province?) As long as the federal government doesn’t step in, the city officials can do pretty much whatever they want, and whatever they want ultimately is how much money they can get. This is why corruption is absolutely rampant at all levels. This is a big reason why even though the federal government has work and environmental standards they are largely ignored. Pay someone off and Bob’s Your Uncle! Keep someone from getting their payoff, and you’re Six Feet Under. The federal government will step in because it has become international news, but in a month, it will be business as usual.

  18. MikeN says:

    I’m not sure how much EU laws apply to Iceland, but the libel laws in Europe are pretty bad.

    In Canada, the Alberta Human Rights Commission is holding an inquisition against a paper for publishing those Danish cartoons of Muhammad.

  19. TIHZ_HO says:

    #17 Ah_Yea – I agree pretty much with everything but I do have some comment about…

    “The federal government will step in because it has become international news, but in a month, it will be business as usual.” Not correct

    This story was reported in China before it was translated into English and then picked up by CNN so what you have said is not correct.

    There are many stories similar to this which are reported in Chinese news which never make it to CNN or are translated into English.


  20. Ah_Yea says:

    #19 I really certainly hope this story makes a difference. I really like the Chinese people and they deserve better.

  21. TIHZ_HO says:

    #19 Ah_Yea

    I agree, Chinese people have suffered beyond imagination this century by the Japanese and then Mao. When Mao died so did his ideology and China did an about face which is nothing short of astounding.

    Change is happening and is progressing much faster than even the government thought possible. It is hard for us westerners to walk a mile in Chinese shoes to understand how change must occur.

    Its easy to point fingers at local governments and all their corruption and say it must stop immediately. That is impossible the same as it was in post war Germany – it takes time and the will to change.



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