Shenzhen police beat me up, professor claims

Outspoken educator alleges authorities assaulted him after inspection of hotel room

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 November, 2012, 3:42am

A professor outspoken on Guangzhou's poor quality of buildings said yesterday he was beaten up by police in Shenzhen last Saturday.

He provided proof in the form of candid video clips of police officers visiting his hotel room and of his subsequent bruises.

Dr Chen Qingqiu, 45, an associate professor of economics at the South China University of Technology, arrived in Shenzhen last Friday for a weekend academic conference. He checked into his hotel at about 7pm and was visited by police around midnight.

Having dealt with police in the past, Chen recorded as much of the encounter as he could. In video clips given to the South China Morning Post, three uniformed police officers from Nanshan district appeared at his door requesting a "routine inspection" of his room.

In one clip, Chen is heard telling them, "What you are doing is illegal. You are disturbing a citizen's right to rest." One of the officers responded by saying that he hotel was a "public venue", making the inspection legal.

A verbal spat ensued, concluding in Chen being handcuffed and taken away for questioning. He spent about six hours in the district police station. "I was violently manhandled," Chen said.

During the 18th party congress earlier this month, Chen had hung a banner on his balcony to protest the poor construction quality of his Guangzhou apartment complex in the city's former media village of the 2010 Asian Games. "I found out I was then listed as a critical target for surveillance," he said.

Chen said it was not until around 4pm on Saturday, after he had spent several hours in detention, that the police took a softer approach and apologised, "saying they didn't know I was a teacher". They took him to a hospital before sending him back to his hotel, he said.

Calls to the publicity office of the Nanshan district's Public Security Bureau went answered yesterday, but an officer at the Shenzhen police's Nanshan branch denied any physical assault. "It is impossible for police to beat up suspects. This is illegal," the policeman said without identifying himself.