Petitioner alleges police torture

Man protesting against alleged land theft claims officers abused him and his son

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 24 May, 2013, 4:56am

A 55-year-old father of two, Chen Fengqiang, has claimed he and his mentally disabled, eight-year-old foster son were tortured under interrogation in a Zhuhai police station after being dragged away while petitioning in Guangzhou on Tuesday.

Chen, 55, and his foster son were released on Wednesday night following about 24 hours' interrogation at the Jinhaitan police station, he said.

I was tied to a torture bench...they grilled me...trying to lay charges on me
Chen Fengqiang

"I was tied to a torture bench in a criminal interrogation room and they grilled me with questions overnight, trying to lay charges on me," Chen said.

"The kid was in solitary confinement. He couldn't speak about what happened but his legs were covered with mosquito bites and his left ankle was red and swollen."

Chen makes a living through scavenging, relies on a 2,200 yuan monthly disabled veterans' military allowance and has been petitioning in connection with 10,000 square metres of land that he alleges was stolen from him by Zhuhai's Jinwan district government. The eight-year-old is the son of Chen's girlfriend, who went missing in January 2009 after being arrested by Zhuhai police. The boy was then held at the integrated public security facility in the district's Sanzao township, which also housed criminals, for four years, Chen said. Chen was also imprisoned and freed in May last year.

"How could they place a small boy with a pack of wolves? How scared has he been living like that these past few years?" Chen asked. "He was born with mild brain damage but he was still able to sing along with nursery rhymes with his mother and had no problems with motor skills when he was four. But now he can't speak, walk a straight line or even hold a rice bowl steady."

Chen said he had taken the boy with him to petition in Guangzhou on Sunday but was questioned by local police and taken away by Zhuhai authorities on Tuesday morning.

A Jinhaitan police officer said he was unaware of Chen's ordeal. Another at the Jinwan district police station , which oversees Jinhaitan, denied torture.

"Any educated person knows police are incapable of such behaviour," he said. "China is progressing towards a refined legal system."