Murdered protester's son takes fight to Web
Updated: 2011-01-13 08:27
By Zhang Kun (China Daily)
Meng Jianwei stands in front of the smashed walls of his demolished house.
[Photo/South Metropolis Weekly]
SHANGHAI - Meng Jianwei believed his father might still be alive, selling bean curd and decorating the house for his son's wedding, had there been a national law to resolve forced demolition disputes.
The young man was sleeping in his dormitory in Shanghai when he received a phone call around 4 am on Oct 30, informing him his father, 54-year-old Meng Fugui, was in critical condition after a brutal attack staged by the demolition company.
According to a local government report, 10 men beat Meng Fugui to death and injured another protester.
By the time Meng Jianwei arrived home in Guzhai village in suburban Taiyuan city, capital of North China's Shanxi province, his father was dead.
The son chronicled the incident in his online diary and also published a letter of protest, calling for a just legal system to empower farmers to decide whether or not to move from their properties.
He wrote in his first post on the Chinese social networking site Renren.com on Oct 30 that he could not accept losing his father, "a strong man in good health".
The father sold bean curd to support Meng Jianwei's studies. Meng Fugui's younger son and daughter had left school.
Meng's first entry garnered extensive public attention, attracting more than 3,000 readers and receiving 118 supportive responses.
One netizen wrote to Meng, saying that such violence destroyed not only farmers' houses but also people's hearts.
Meng began writing in his online diary every day to chronicle the case's progress.
Five suspects were detained on Nov 2, followed by 12 more on Nov 9. On Nov 13, five local government officials were removed from their posts or otherwise severely punished.
At the same time, senior local government leaders visited Meng's family and promised to punish the criminals.
Typing "Meng Jianwei" and "demolition" into Baidu, China's leading search engine, brought up 68,300 results.
"I used to live simply, because all I focused on was finishing my research," Meng said.
"My father never mentioned the forced relocation dispute to me. He always supported me, no matter what degree I chose to pursue," he continued.
"Teachers and classmates at Fudan have come to visit me to offer condolences and support. Maybe I should consider studying abroad, although I never thought about it before."
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