Henan authorities have suspended three senior officials at a local police bureau including the bureau chief after one of its police officers was detained for allegedly throwing a seven-month-old baby girl to the ground, fracturing her skull, state media said on Monday.
Linzhou Police Bureau Chief and two senior communist party delegates have been temporarily removed from their posts and put under investigation, party-run people.com.cn said. This came two days after one of their subordinates was detained.
Guo Zengxi, 50, who has been a police officer for almost three decades, was drinking with friends one evening last month when he saw a man holding a baby accompanied by his wife, the Legal Evening News reported.
After betting with his friends that the child was just a doll, the policeman touched her face then grabbed her from her father, before lifting her up and smashing her on the ground, the report said.
The baby, named Yueyue, was taken to hospital and is out of danger, according to state news agency Xinhua.
Guo’s punishment was initially only 15 days of disciplinary confinement.
The news, which did not emerge until the newspaper broke the story on Saturday, immediately sparked anger among members of the public, with many condemning the suspect’s cruelty and local government’s attempts to cover up the incident.
However, Xinhua said on Sunday that Guo had now been arrested after an investigative team was sent to probe the incident.
“The policeman involved in the baby attack was put under criminal detention on Saturday night and was transferred to a detention centre in Anyang City this morning,” Xinhua quoted Guo Fajie, head of the public security bureau of Anyang city, as saying. Anyang city governs Linzhou.
The incident was reminiscent of another case in China in which a man threw a two-year-old girl to the ground in a row with her mother over parking, resulting in the child’s death.
The tragic event resulted in a flurry of soul-searching online as internet users expressed concern that such an extreme act was an indication of falling moral standards in China.