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Parents of hurt boy ask county to pay up

Updated: 2011-04-22 08:00

By Cheng Yingqi (China Daily)

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BEIJING - Li Peiyao's parents were not pleased with the overdue apology they finally received from Gu Pengtu, chief of the county where they live, who had been in a car that knocked over their son in a traffic accident in 2009.

This accident in Xingtai, North China's Hebei province, came to the public's attention recently after an online posting noted that the then-14-year-old Li had been knocked off his bicycle by an official car that had run a red light on March 9, 2009.

The surveillance tape shows Gu, acting chief of Xingtai county at that time, was a passenger in the car and that he had left the scene, leaving the driver to ensure the injured Li was sent to a hospital.

Gu did not make an apology until Wednesday, when he was interviewed in his office by the Beijing-based China Youth Daily.

"I apologize to the child," Gu was quoted as saying by China Youth Daily. He said he had behaved inappropriately by not personally ensuring the boy was sent to a hospital.

"I do not understand whether the county chief was sincerely apologizing or just putting on a show but I am not satisfied with the apology because he did not apologize to us, the victim's parents," said Li Jianxi, Li Peiyao's father.

"Like most families in this country, we have only one child. So destroying him is equal to ruining my family, and we received no apology."

After being hit on the head, Li Peiyao suffered from memory loss and was treated in a hospital for 173 days, where he underwent brain surgery.

The injury means Li Peiyao now suffers from epilepsy, a chronic neurological disorder characterized by seizures. It has also left the middle-school student with difficulty in verbal dexterity and agraphia, which means he has trouble writing.

Li Jianxi started an action against the Xingtai county government in early March, calling for 1.25 million yuan ($191,600) in compensation.

According to Li Jianxi, he spent 180,000 yuan on medical costs and still needs to spend 2,000 yuan a month on treatment. He said the Xingtai government only gave him 163,000 yuan.

The case is going through civil mediation procedures. If the two sides fail to reach an agreement, Li senior says he will "seek the protection of the courts".

On Thursday, the publicity department with Xingtai county government released a written statement to China Daily saying the government cannot afford to meet Li's request, which they said was for 4.55 million yuan. The department also said the parents had asked the local government to hire Li Peiyao as a civil servant.

The statement also said the government recently promised to pay additional medical expenses but had not received approval from the father.

Li Jianxi claimed no officials had spoken to him.  


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