Lu Banglie Update

Good news:

Lu Banglie, the Chinese democracy activist who was savagely beaten at the weekend, has been found injured but alive.

Mr Lu has told the Guardian that he was battered unconscious and later driven hundreds of miles to his home town where he is now recuperating. Civil rights lawyers said they were considering a legal case against his attackers, thought to be a group of thugs hired by the local authorities to put down an anti-corruption campaign against the chief of Taishi village.

According to the Guardian, here is Mr. Lu’s own account of his attack:

“Five to six of them pulled my hair and punched me in the head. They kicked my legs and body for a couple of minutes. Then I passed out. Some people splashed water on me which brought me round, then I passed out again.” When he came to, he was being driven back to Hubei.

The propaganda office said Mr Lu had been picked off the road near Taishi at 9pm – an hour after the assault – taken to a nearby hospital for a check-up and then at 1.30am driven out of the area.

The Pan Yu propaganda office said there had been “no violence” and that Mr Lu had “pretended to be dead”.

Mr Lu said such claims were laughable. “When I came around, I was too nauseous to eat. My body aches all over and my head hurts.” But he said only his arm was visibly wounded.

His supporters, who include lawyer Gao Jisheng, say they are considering legal action. The Guardian has asked the Guangdong authorities to investigate the attack but a spokeswoman said a response would be made in the next few days. Mr Lu said he was aware of the dangers and had no regrets about going to Taishi. “I believe you cannot write off truth. The authorities control the village tightly. They try to prevent news from leaking out, which hurts not only the democratisation of Taishi village but the entire country.”

Update [by Richard]: Rebecca MacKinnon has some important words of wisdom to add:

At the same time, I hope this question of a foreign correspondent’s responsibility will not become a convenient way of distracting people from the core issue: one of human rights and the suppression of a democracy movement in Taishi.

Will Chinese netizens be successfully manipulated into foreigner-bashing as an acceptable alternative to communist party-bashing?

Are you listening, Chinese netizens?

The Discussion: 5 Comments

Thanks for this welcome update, Lisa. Reading what some bloggers are saying, you’d think Lu was out playing basketball, and that the worst the thugs did to him was break a fingernail.

October 11, 2005 @ 1:51 am | Comment

I’ve read a couple of reports that make it sound like he was all but dead, you have to be careful here.

October 11, 2005 @ 8:32 am | Comment

And Richard, thanks for MacKinnon’s update. I think it seems beyond dispute that a gang of thugs with a mandate from the local government dragged Lu out of his car and beat him in an attempt to intimidate local activists. If people decide it’s no big deal because, well, the guy isn’t dead – that’s pretty sad.

October 11, 2005 @ 11:02 am | Comment

The fact that the authorities didn’t even pretend that they cared about the attack shows how hollow the CCP’s “interest” in democracy is.

October 11, 2005 @ 3:41 pm | Comment

My girlfriend read the Guardian article in Chinese and an interview with Lu on VOA. Apparently apart from nauseoussness (that doesn’t look right…) due to trauma of the head, doctors say he’s oK. He himself says that they definitely knew what they were doing, beating him to cause maximum pain but minimum marks.

October 11, 2005 @ 6:31 pm | Comment

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