This report was originally published in Xian Dai Jin Bao (Zhejiang Province Branch of Xinhua News Agency) 现代金报. What follows is a translation.
How Did This Tragedy Happen? A Reporter Went On-Location to Uncover the Truth.
At noon on February 4, a group of eleven leaders of the Qingxiang Community Communist Party Branch, (this community is located in Ma Yu Borough , Rui An County, WenZhou City in Southeast China’s Zhejiang Province), drove to the Dong Shan Tou Village of this Borough, charging the “Social Compensation Fee” from Lian-Di Chen and his wife, because they have had more children than the One- Child Policy allows. During that process, the two parties developed a conflict, the situation became chaotic, the 13 month old baby of Chen dropped on the ground and was run over by a car [containing Family Planning Officials]. After sending the baby to hospital, he died due to severe injuries. After that incident, the local police department intervened and is investigating.
According to the official report published on the day of the incident, the 13-month-old baby was held by his father Chen. How, then, did the baby drop to the ground, and how he get run over by the vehicle? A reporter went on site yesterday, trying to uncover the truth.
On the afternoon of February 5, the reporter came to Dong Shan Tou Village in Ma Yu borough. This village is far away from the city. On the roadside quite a few villagers had gathered, discussing the death of the baby on February 4.
Learning that a reporter was coming to investigate this incident, approximately twenty villagers came to talk:
- Villager Hu
“ My home is less than 20 meters from this incident. On that day, at noon, I was upstairs in my house. I heard it was very noisy downstairs, so I came down and see a large mini-van parked alongside the road.”
“Lian-Di Chen was beside the car door. His wife was already inside the vehicle. Chen’s two daughters were standing by his right hand side. The elder daughter was holding her 13-month-old brother. They were crying for their mother. The scene was pretty chaotic at that time. The car door was open and there were more than ten people inside the vehicle.”
“Before somebody cried out out that baby was crushed over, I heard four or five people inside the vehicle shouting: ‘Let’s go! Let’s go!’ Then the baby fell down.”
- Villager Chen (not the father)
“ When it happened, I was standing behind the vehicle, only three or four meters away from it.
“I saw Chen’s wife, Yu-Hong Li was already on the vehicle. There were several comrades from the Borough. Lian-Di Chen was holding the 13-month-old boy in his hands, standing by the car door, trying to hand the baby to his wife inside the vehicle. But the people inside the car pushed the baby out of the car. Thus the baby dropped onto the ground. Then the engine started and the baby was crushed to death by the rear wheel of the vehicle.”
- Lian-Di Chen, the father
On the afternoon of Feb 5, the reporter interviewed Lian-Di Chen in front of the Ma-Yu Borough Government Building. Lian-Di was wearing a light grey color jacket. The right part of the jacket under his arm was torn open and the cotton inside the jacket was exposed. He said this is the jacket that he was wearing on the day of this incident, and the clothes were torn open by the leaders of the Borough Chinese Communist Party Committee.
“At noon on February 4, as we were having lunch upstairs, we heard people talking downstairs. When we got downstairs, we saw several people rushing into our room, saying that they are leaders of Qing Xiang Community, who are coming to collect the “Social Compensation Fee.” I brought chairs for them, but they refused to sit down and talk. They also threatened me, saying ‘Don’t you flee today. Today we are definitely bringing you back.’
“When we get out of my house, they were still dragging my clothes. I said, ‘You are tearing my clothes.’ They said ‘we will reimburse you for the clothes, but you have to go with us today.’ I said, ‘I will go, but I have three children. My family wants to go together with me.’
“When we left the house, my wife was already on the vehicle. There were many neighbors around the vehicle. My two daughters were standing by the car door. My elder daughter was holding her baby brother, and the baby was crying for Mom. Then I went over to the vehicle, carrying the baby, preparing to go into the vehicle. At that moment there were seven or eight government officials inside the vehicle, and my wife was also inside. I wanted to get into the car and handed my son to my wife. The baby was crying a lot, and it was very chaotic. I don’t know who pushed me, causing my baby to drop to the ground. At that time the car started moving, and I wasn’t able to get my baby before the tire crushed him. The baby was killed.”
- The Government Officials
Later, the reporter went to the Borough Government of Ma-Yu. One official accepted the interview. He told the reporter, after the incident, the leaders of the Borough attached great importance to this incident.
The reporter asked to interview the officials who were at the scene on that day, and was told that they were not there. All of them went to local police department to write reports.
- The situation of the family
During the interview, villagers told the reporter that the Chen family is not very rich. Mr. Chen makes a living by driving a vehicle for the disabled, and their children are all wearing old clothes donated by the neighbors.
With the villagers as guides, the reporter came to Lian-Di Chen’s house. His front door was open, there were no decorations inside the house, there were some old clothes hanging on a clothesline for drying after laundry, and there were a baby carriage besides them.
Villager Chen said, Lian-Di Chen’s business is not in very good condition either. They could earn barely 1000 yuan per month ( appr. $160). Their life was very harsh.
Another female villager said Lian-Di’s wife is from outside the village, and is a housewife taking care of children. They had three children. The eldest daughter is in elementary school, younger daughter is only 4 years old. Their life is harsh. If she (the female villager) had any old clothes in her family, she would gave them to Chen’s kids.
(Reporter Guo-Lin Xie; Intern Zhan-Peng Jing)
View the link to the original February 6, 2013 Chinese news report: 现代金报