Three policemen stand trial over killing of woman migrant worker in northern China

Video footage of an officer treading on the woman's hair after she tried to stop the arrest of her husband and son caused an outcry on the internet

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 May, 2015, 3:37pm
UPDATED : Monday, 18 May, 2015, 3:37pm


Three Chinese policemen went on trial on Monday over the fatal beating of a woman migrant worker, state media said, a case that sparked an online outcry about violence by law enforcers.

Zhou Xiuyun, 47, was assaulted by the police at a construction site in Taiyuan in northern Shanxi province in December as she tried to prevent officers taking away her husband and son over a dispute with security guards, according to previous media reports.

The three were taken to a local police station where Zhou was thrown to the ground while the two men were beaten up, they said. Zhou died the next day in hospital.

Footage showing policeman Wang Wenjun trampling the hair of a dazed Zhou went viral online a week later, intensifying public anger.

Wang went on trial for intentional injury and abuse of power on Monday in Taiyuan, state broadcaster China Central Television reported.

His colleagues Guo Tiewei, who was charged with abuse of power, and Ren Haibo, who faces a charge of intentional injury, joined him in the dock, it said.

Police in China are accused by rights groups and critics of aiding companies or local governments in cases such as labour disputes, land seizures and evictions.

They often use violence to extort confessions, according to human rights activists, while abuses by urban enforcement officers known as chengguan also regularly trigger public fury.

A police officer shot dead a man who scuffled with him and hit him with a baton at a train station in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang earlier this month.

A farmer in the central province of Hunan was beaten to death by six urban enforcement officers two years ago for selling watermelons at a street stall without a licence.