There's a story coming out of Sichuan that the police there are apologizing after they severely beat up a teacher they thought resembled a fugitive they were looking for even though other teachers and students tried to stop the assault.
Yu Hui was getting out of a taxi and about to enter an awards ceremony recognizing him as an outstanding teacher in Shehong county on Tuesday when he was assaulted. He is suffering from bleeding in his skull and is being treated in a local hospital.
Teachers and students, incensed by what happened to Yu, took to the streets demanding an explanation from the county government. A Shehong county police spokesperson said Thursday the beating was a misunderstanding because the suspect "looked kind of similar" to the teacher. Yu fled the police because he thought they were robbers. The seven policemen have been suspended pending further investigation.
A teacher at the school said the county's public security chief who is also the deputy county chief, came to the school and apologized, bowing three times on Thursday.
"He admitted the police were at fault and vowed to punish the wrongdoers severely and take care of all necessary medical costs and compensation," he said.
"We basically accepted their apology. After all, the incident had already happened, so there is not much we can do now. But we asked to send at least four of our teachers and students to be part of their investigating team to monitor their progress. We need to make sure all evidence collected is genuine."
More than 100 students and teachers at Shehong Middle School were at a farmhouse restaurant for the awards ceremony. Yu was attacked as he stepped out of the taxi.
State media give this account of what happened: "Yu and police officers clashed after Yu was mistaken as a fugitive", but photos online show Yu was the innocent one as the policemen were unharmed and Yu was the one covered in blood and bruises.
The teacher explained Yu's side of the events: "A plain-clothes officer tapped his shoulder and said: 'Brother, there's something I need to talk to you about.' But Yu thought he was a robber so he ran and the next thing he knew was that he was severely beaten by seven policemen. He was screaming for his life and I've heard the beating lasted for about 30 minutes. Some teachers heard his screaming and rushed to help."
The entire school was upset about the attack, as Yu had worked there his entire teaching career after graduating from university and was an outstanding language teacher and class teacher.
"We understand Yu is now being treated by a team of specialists and his situation is basically stable, but he's suffering from minor internal bleeding in his skull," the teacher continued. "His doctor told us Yu shouldn't be suffering from long term injury."
This incident clearly illustrates the heavy-handed nature of the police on the mainland, where they don't mind beating up people first then apologizing later. What's more shocking is how they beat him up so horribly when physically detaining him would have been enough. It's also interesting the county public security chief is also the deputy county chief, as he is literally accumulating his power to the wrong effect.
Hopefully Yu will recover though he will have tremendous psychological trauma to deal with in overcoming his fear of the police or even just groups of men. The students are also losing out on having one of their top teachers in school -- all because some police officers wanted to act tough.