House arrest victim to get state compensation
Updated: 2013-02-08 16:19
HARBIN -- Chen Qingxia, a petitioner who was under house arrest for three years, is entitled to state compensation after investigators on Friday ruled that security staff had made "mistakes" in the law enforcement of her.
Zheng Chun, deputy chief of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee in Yichun City, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, said that Chen will be compensated in line with the State Compensation Law. He said those who offended Chen and her family members will be seriously dealt with and subject to the criminal law.
Four officials including three police officers in Yichun and a head of the complaint letter handling office in Dailing District, Yichun, were sacked for mishandling Chen's case, according to the investigators.
The 44-year-old woman now confined to a wheelchair had been held in an abandoned morgue for three years since 2009 after receiving an 18-month re-education labor sentence for complaining about her husband's detention
She caught the public attention after the media reported that people found posters Chen put on the window of her dungeon, bearing cries for mercy, in December 2012.
Investigators found that the local authorities in Dailing District sought to punish her for petitioning in Beijing, where she traveled to seek justice for her husband's mistreatment at a re-education labor camp.
The husband Song Lisheng had been given the one-year-and-seven-month service for attempting to escape quarantine during a SARS epidemic in 2003.
A court in Yichun revoked the re-education sentence to Song in November 2003 after Chen petitioned the city government. However, the police department continued to enforce the re-education to Song, who suffered bruising and mental health deterioration, after he was freed.
Chen decided to petition higher-ranking authorities for her husband's case. She took her son with her and went to Beijing in 2007, where she was intercepted by security staff.
The boy aged 12 at that time was left unattended and was lost after security staff put the mother into a cab and sent her back to Yichun.
The woman's health deteriorated while being restricted in the abandoned bungalow once used as a morgue in a local welfare house.
Investigators have entrusted doctors with the Harbin Medical University to give Chen a health check, which showed that her current disability was from a relapse of a back injury, which she sustained in a street accident in 1990.
Investigators found no evidence suggesting Chen was physically abused during her house arrest.
According to the investigation team, Chen's medical bills during her detention have been paid by the district government.
Chen needs to go through a legal procedure to get the state compensation.
Although the exact sum of Chen's compensation is not yet known, investigators said in addition to the money, Chen can expect all future medical bills of her husband and herself as well as their living expenses covered by the government. The district government will provide an apartment for the couple to live, and continue efforts of looking for their son.
Chen's case has triggered a nationwide outcry to reform the re-education system. Known in Chinese as "laojiao," the system established in the 1950s to consolidate the newly founded republic and rectify social order, allows police to detain people, usually charged with minor offenses, for up to four years without an open trial.
According to the national political and legal work conference that concluded on January 8, the government will push the reform of the system this year.
Several provinces including Guangdong and Yunnan have announced their plans to end the system this year.