Rule of Law

Officials conclude self-inflicted injury in Fu Xiancai case

Human Rights in China
July 26, 2006

The official Chinese investigation into the assault of Three Gorges petitioner Fu Xiancai has concluded that Fu was not injured by someone else, and that no criminal act had been committed.

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that the official Chinese investigation into the assault of Three Gorges petitioner Fu Xiancai has concluded that his injuries were self-inflicted. Fu was paralyzed from the shoulders down after a blow to the back of his neck so severe that three of his vertebrae were shattered, and doctors reportedly expect him to never regain use of his legs. Fu Xiancai and his family have questioned the fairness of the investigation from the beginning, as the authority assigned to conduct the investigation reportedly previously sanctioned and colluded in harassment against Fu. Sources in China told HRIC that on July 26, the head of the Zigui County Public Security Bureau’s forensics department, surnamed Yang, accompanied by police officer Wang Erhu and Yangguidian Village Committee head Wang Yuncheng, summoned Fu Xiancai’s son, Fu Bing, to the Yichang Central PSB dispatch station. Yang reportedly notified Fu Bing of the results of the investigation:

  • The PSB had brought in several nationally recognized forensic pathologists to examine Fu Xiancai‚Äôs injuries, and these experts had concluded that the injuries were self-inflicted;
  • The local PSB had also carried out an investigation of the scene of the attack, and had found no footprints other than those of Fu Xiancai;
  • On the basis of this evidence, the PSB concluded that Fu had not been injured by someone else, and that no criminal act had been committed.

Sources say that on the same morning, Zigui County PSB criminal investigations squad leader Hu Xuelong, accompanied by two police officers and Yangguidian Village PSB Division head Wan Xiankui, visited Fu Xiancai in his hospital ward for more than two hours. During that visit, the officials reportedly informed Fu that his injuries had been officially determined to be self-inflicted. They also reportedly told Fu not to appeal this decision or file a new complaint, even though the written “Conclusion of Investigation” given to Fu Xiancai states clearly that he has the right to appeal the decision. Fu Xiancai’s family members have from the outset objected to the investigation of the assault on Fu Xiancai being handled by the Zigui County Public Security Bureau under the direction of bureau head Jia Li, given that the Zigui County PSB had reportedly been involved in incidents of harassment against Fu:

  • Fu had reported at several earlier incidents of harassment and threats in 2005 and 2006 to the Zigui County PSB without result;
  • In August 2005, Zigui County PSB head Jia Li and more than 20 others had intercepted Fu and other petitioners when they attempted to go to Beijing;
  • A month later, after again intercepting Fu and other petitioners on their way to Beijing, Zigui County officials and PSB officers reportedly stood by and watched as a group of village cadres assaulted Fu and the other petitioners.

According to HRIC’s sources, when Fu Bing again raised the demand that Jia Li should be removed from the case, Yang told him that the authorities had no obligation to respond to family members because they lacked legal standing in Fu Xiancai’s case. Sources say that when Fu Bing asked to be told the names of the forensic pathologists and their institutions, Yang told him that there were many experts involved in the assessment, and that he was under no obligation to disclose their names. Yang also refused to answer further questions about the case. HRIC is strongly concerned about the independence, accuracy and fairness of the Zigui PSB’s investigation into Fu Xiancai’s assault. The Zigui PSB is abusing its investigatory mandate by unlawfully pressuring Fu Xiancai to forgo any legitimate appeals process and refusing to disclose the experts who determined that Fu could have single-handedly struck himself from behind with such force as to shatter three of his vertebrae. In light of strong international concern and attention to Fu’s case, HRIC calls on the provincial authorities to remove the Zigui PSB’s authority in this case and order a new, transparent and independent investigation.

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