Yunnan teachers roughed up by police

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 November, 2011, 12:00am


Guangzhou police mistook six visiting schoolteachers of an ethnic minority as criminals, while they were shopping in the busy downtown last week and used force in arresting them, with four suffering injuries.

The six Naxi teachers, aged 26 to 35, came from a remote mountainous area of Yulong county in Yunnan, media reports said. They arrived in Guangzhou on November 14 for training that had been organised by the Ministry of Education.

The three men and three women were shopping in Tianhe district that afternoon when they stopped on a flyover to discuss whether to get haircuts or to continue shopping, they told the Beijing Times.

Plain-clothes police then approached them, and a scuffle ensued. One of the women said: 'They took our head teacher down. I thought we had run into criminals, so I fled and called the police. They said we were loitering and treated us as a criminal syndicate.'

Word of their aggressive arrests spread quickly. The Southern Metropolis News said yesterday that the provincial Department of Education complained to the Guangzhou Public Security Bureau, demanding an immediate investigation and seeking compensation for the group, though no amount was given.

The teachers said they were kicked on their backs and buttocks, and some of the women said they suffered wrist injuries when the officers pulled them. The total number of officers involved was not given.

A police spokesman was cited by The Southern Metropolis News as saying the teachers did not comply with requests to present their identification. Guangzhou police admitted wrongdoing in a statement and apologised to the teachers. But they denied any physical assault took place.