CHANGING FACES

Woman selling her baby to fund court battle with 'triad involved in husband's killing'

Lin Xinlei says she needs money to fight system protecting bar owner behind husband's killing

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 May, 2014, 5:55am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 May, 2014, 10:02am

Lin Xinlei, 28, has a four-year-old daughter and a baby son, born seven months after his father was stabbed to death in Guangzhou. On January 1, Lin posted a comment on the popular Tianya forum, offering to sell the infant. It's illegal to do so, but she says she needs the money for the legal battle to bring the woman she says is responsible for her husband's death to justice.

When did you come to Guangzhou?

I'm originally from Anxi county in Fujian. My husband, Li Jianglin, came to Guangzhou in 2002 and I followed in 2005. We were married 10 years ago. He worked hard running a small construction-equipment store, and I was a housewife.

How did he die?

On the night of November 1, 2012, a group of his friends came to our shop and dragged him away to karaoke. The karaoke bar, Feng Qing Ge, is in Huang village, Dongpu township, in Tianhe district.

At the end of the night when the bill arrived, there was a quarrel over tips with the karaoke manager, Liu Yaying. They resolved the matter 30 minutes later, and the group left with two of the karaoke girls for a nearby congee shop.

However, Liu was still angry at the time, and she ordered her boyfriend and four other men to attack the group with knives. My husband must have thought the attackers were not after him, as he was not part of the quarrel with Liu, so he didn't run away. He was stabbed in the chest. I was one month pregnant at the time.

Why are you selling your son?

I am selling my son because I want to raise funds for a legal battle against a very powerful triad protected by local police.I need to see Liu in jail and give my husband the justice he deserved. He died in vain and this should not have happened.

My son was born on May 31, he is very healthy and has been breastfed until today. I hope to find him a good family - he will only live a life of hardship and pain if he stays with me.

My husband's body still lies in the morgue, as we have no money to bury him. We also don't want to bury him before justice is served.

What happened to the men who attacked your husband and his friends?

One was sentenced to life and two others were sentenced to 11 and 10 years respectively for aggregated assault. One other attacker was granted bail, while the fifth escaped arrest. There were more people involved, as my husband's friends said every street corner they ran past while escaping from the attackers was blocked by more men beating them.

One of his friend's arms was nearly severed. It was a bloody scene. The court ordered the attackers to pay civil damages of about 60,000 yuan (HK$74,000), but the order could not be implemented because the attackers said they didn't have the money.

What happened to the Feng Qing Ge karaoke bar?

Authorities ordered the bar to be shut down for three months, but business continued as usual. I complained to police but they ignored me.

Why do you insist on still going after the karaoke manager?

Because it was Liu who started the quarrel, and later sought revenge by ordering the attack. The three attackers were all former convicts, members of triads. Even the Guangzhou People's Intermediate Court ruling stated that Liu instigated the attack. But she never went on trial or was even placed on probation. We asked the court why she was never tried, and they said police never submitted a prosecution file for her to the court.

As it turned out, she is protected by Huang village public security. We found that out while digging for evidence in Huang, where the locals told us we were wasting our time. We found out that is an open secret among the locals that the karaoke bar was part-owned by a deputy chief of the Huang police.

I know I'm up against thugs sheltered by local police, but I will continue to fight. I'm not afraid to lose my life. Actually, I really want to follow my husband, because he was such a good man to me. I feel so sorry about making him lie in the freezer.

How did your family cope?

Every day my daughter asks where her daddy is, and each time my heart shatters. I kept telling her father was working in the United States. But recently, I think she has realised that he is never coming back. She has become quieter and has stopped asking. My own parents and relatives no longer talk to me, because they opposed our marriage, and now laugh at me because of the consequences.

How did you seek justice?

I petitioned with my husband's parents while I was still pregnant. One of his parents has heart disease and the other is mentally ill. We approached everyone, including the Tianhe district government, Tianhe public security, Guangzhou city and Guangdong government.

We were passed from one to the next - no-one would take us seriously. I even wrote to the Central Disciplinary Committee in Beijing to report police abuse but got no reply. The petitioning system is designed to fool powerless citizens. It's useless and only wastes your time, as no one gives you a proper answer to your complaints. I'm desperate and don't know what else I can do. As a widow and a mother of two with parents-in-law to support, I feel like I have come to the end of the road.

Has the government provided any assistance?

The Tianhe district government provided about 30,000 yuan for legal assistance and the Guangzhou city government paid us a 40,000 yuan subsidy, after rounds and rounds of petitioning. However, they set a condition for us to receive the money: we had to give up petitioning. What they really want is to see us stop causing trouble and return to Fujian. The money ran out, as my parents-in-laws are still ill and we're tens of thousands of yuan in debt from the money my husband borrowed for his business.

What has happened in the meantime?

We've been harassed and had to move three times. Strangers knocked on our door in the middle of night. We were scared and moved to another place, but it continued. I feared that my children would be attacked as well. My daughter has missed kindergarten for the past semester and my mother-in-law has been scared to go outside.

What are you doing these days?

I hope to start looking for a job to support my family. I'm still petitioning and talking to people who might be able to help. I made some friends along the way, fighting against injustice, and have begun attending more public court hearings, hoping to pick up more legal knowledge so I won't be so ignorant and powerless.