Dead girl's parents 'accept' payout

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 July, 2008, 12:00am

The parents of Guizhou teenager Li Shufen whose death triggered violent mass protests last week said yesterday that they were under pressure to accept compensation for their daughter's death and bury her.

Li Xiuhua and Luo Pingbi kept their daughter's body in a refrigerated coffin for almost two weeks near the river where she was drowned, protesting against authorities' handling of the investigation into her death.

On Wednesday, Guizhou Public Security Department spokesman Wang Zhengxing said her parents had agreed to bury their daughter - tacitly accepting police conclusions that Li Shufen committed suicide and was not raped and murdered.

When contacted yesterday, Mr Li and Ms Luo said they were followed constantly by police officers who wanted them to drop their case.

'My mobile phone has been bugged since Tuesday,' Mr Li said yesterday. 'We are very scared but we can do nothing.'

He said dozens of officials - some from the provincial government - had visited the couple. 'They talked to me from around 5pm to 10pm and forced me to sign a document to accept the 30,000 yuan (HK$34,170) as my daughter's funeral expenses,' Mr Li said. The father - a farmer from Leiwen village of Yuhua township in Wengan - said he had never been so scared. 'We faced great pressure from officials - people from provincial government and the police,' he said. 'I have to accept their arrangement because I am just a farmer.'

Mr Wang said that on Wednesday, three of Shufen's friends - the people she last saw before her death - had been released after questioning and were not connected with local officials or police. He gave no reasons why Shufen would have killed herself.

Yesterday, Mr Li denied that he had demanded 500,000 yuan compensation from his daughter's friends and said it was a suggestion made by a police officer.

'I just wanted justice for my daughter when I confronted the vice public security director of our county, Zhou Guoxiang ,' Mr Li said, adding that it was Mr Zhou's suggestion.

'It's him [Zhou] that suggested I solve the problem with money. And I pretended that I wanted 500,000 yuan. Then Zhou said he would help me demand the money from families of the three,' Mr Li said. 'It's just a bluff, I don't really want their money.' Mr Li said Shufen was buried yesterday after a third autopsy.