Sunday, January 20, 2008

Chinese Blogger beaten to Death

BEIJING, China (CNN) -- Wei Wenhua was a model communist and is now a bloggers' hero -- a "citizen journalist" turned martyr.

The construction company manager was driving his car when he witnessed an ugly scene: a team of about 50 city inspectors beating villagers who tried to block trucks from unloading trash near their homes.
Wei took out his cell phone and began taking pictures. The city inspectors saw Wei and then attacked him in a beating that lasted five minutes. By the time it was over, the 41-year-old Wei was slumped unconscious. He was rushed to the hospital but was dead on arrival.
His death earlier this month continues to stir controversy. In China's mainstream media and in
the blogosphere, angry Chinese are demanding action.
After the Web site published news of Wei's beating, readers promptly expressed their outrage. In one day alone, more than 8,000 posted comments. Bloggers inside and outside
China bluntly condemned the brutal killing.

Goldkorn said: "It's the kind of trouble that is very threatening to the party and the government, because it's the kind of trouble that questions their reason d'etre. So when looking at things like this, in the back of their minds, is always, 'Could this develop into a real mass incident that has the power to threaten the stability of China?' "
Meanwhile, bloggers are heaping eulogies for Wei. So far, no one has seen the pictures Wei took that day. It is thought his camera was destroyed in the beating.
"Eternal repose to Citizen Wei Wenhua," wrote blogger Wang Gongquan. "In the face of violence and brute power, he lifted a citizen's rights, conscience, responsibility and courage."
Reporters Without Borders said, "Wei is the first 'citizen journalist' to die in China because of what he was trying to film."