Legislator returns home after beating

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 October, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 October, 2005, 12:00am

Activist says he lost consciousness after assault in Taishi

A mainland legislator re-emerged in his home province of Hubei last night after he was badly beaten in Guangdong's Taishi village, where residents are fighting to oust their allegedly corrupt village chief.

Zhijiang People's Congress representative Lu Banglie said he lost consciousness after being punched and kicked by thugs as he attempted to enter the strife-torn village in Panyu district, together with a journalist working for the British newspaper The Guardian.

'I was punched and kicked. I don't know what happened after that,' Mr Lu said from the home of Yao Lifa , a former Qianjiang People's Congress deputy. The next thing he knew he had been moved to the Hunan city of Changsha . He arrived home in Zhijiang at 6pm on Sunday.

'I feel giddy, my head aches and my shoulders are sore, otherwise I feel normal. But I don't know whether some problems may emerge later,' he said on his arrival at Mr Yao's home at 10.30pm last night.

The attack on Mr Lu is the latest in a series of assaults on reporters, including a South China Morning Post correspondent, lecturers and lawyers when they tried to enter the village.

They were beaten, attacked and harassed by gangsters who claimed to be 'villagers'. Taishi has attracted extensive overseas media attention over villagers' attempt to oust village chief Chen Jinsheng amid allegations that he embezzled public funds.

Earlier, Mr Lu's elder sister, Lu Bangying , said: 'He arrived home at 5pm and left before 6pm. He washed his clothes and told me he couldn't help me because he had to go to [the nearby city of] Yichang and would return tomorrow or the day after.'

Ms Lu said that soon after her brother had left, cadres from Liuxiang township, including an official named Ma Guohua , had visited her to see if he was back home and to find out what he said.

Ms Lu said she did not notice any injuries on her brother, but Guardian reporter Benjamin Joffe-Watt, who saw him being beaten, reported that his assailants 'bashed him to the ground, kicked him, pulverised him, stomped on his head over and over again'.

'He lay there - his eye out of its socket, his tongue cut, a stream of blood dropping from his mouth, his body limp, twisted,' The Guardian reported. 'The ligaments in his neck were broken, so his head lay sideways as if connected to the rest of his body by a rubber band.'

Mr Yao said Mr Lu had sounded 'frightened and nervous' when they spoke on the phone earlier.