BEIJING (Reuters) – A Chinese activist working to help those displaced by the giant Three Gorges Dam and left paralyzed after a beating last month, inflicted the injuries on himself, a rights group cited a police investigation as showing.
Human Rights in China said it had learned that Fu Xiancai, who has been petitioning since the 1990s for better compensation for the more than 1 million flooded out of their homes by the dam, has been told he cannot appeal the decision.
The Three Gorges, the world’s largest hydroelectricity dam, is also aimed at taming floods on the Yangtze river, but the $25 billion project has been mired in controversy over its environmental impact and the human cost to those resettled.
Fu was beaten up while walking home after a meeting with the Public Security Bureau in Zigui County in central Hubei province, where he was called in about an interview, critical of resettlement terms, he had given to a German broadcaster.
Police barred the German journalist who interviewed Fu from entering the hospital to see him, Human Rights in China said.
The group said the police investigation had found no footprints near the scene where Fu said he had been attacked other than Fu’s, and so concluded his injuries were self-inflicted.
The New York-based group said it was concerned about the independence and accuracy of the Zigui police investigation.
“HRIC calls on the provincial authorities to remove the Zigui PSB’s authority in the case and order a new, transparent and independent investigation,” the group said in a statement received on Thursday.
In another incident, the Committee to Protect Journalists said it wanted the Chinese government to probe the death of a newspaper editor in the southwestern province of Guizhou, who it said was beaten to death in public by a police officer.
The group said it was not clear if the death of Xiao Guopeng, the editor of the Anshun Daily, was connected with his work as a reporter, but said his death was being looked into by the local authorities.
In February, another Chinese newspaper editor died from injuries months after traffic police beat him up after he wrote an expose about exorbitant electric bicycle license fees, the press watchdog said.
Chinese journalists who report crime and corruption in the newly competitive media environment face increasing incidents of violence, the committee said.