Shishou (石首) Incident: Tens of Thousands People Guarding one Dead Body, Armed Police Suppressed Crowd
June 17 to June 20, Hubei province Shishou (石首) (city) a hotel chef’s strange death caused tens of thousands of people gathering and road blocking. Party secretary of Hubei Province Luo Qingquan (罗清泉) and Hubei governor Li Hongzhong (李鸿忠) visited the city to dispose the case. Till 20th to 21st morning, the situation has gradually subsided. The corpse were in the hotel were sent to a funeral parlor and crowd dispersed.
Shishou government web site reported: June 17 8:36 pm Shishou police department received a 110 call “A male dead body was found at Yonglong Hotel”. After the call police quickly rushed to the scene and started investigation at the same time reported to the city public security bureau and Interpol report group. Detectives quickly rushed to the scene to carry out an investigation. Early forensics found no other fatal injuries. Early investigation says, deceased, Tu Yuangao (涂远高), Male 24 years old is one of the hotel’s chefs. The police searched in victim’s room and found a suicide note, in the note he talks about being depressed and committing suicide. The police ruled out homicide and preliminary identified as suicide.
The police communicated with the deceased relatives, made it clear that in order to investigate the cause of death, an autopsy must be carried out, but the family refused. The family members expressed doubts about the cause of death. On the 19th many people do not know the truth gathered in the city and set 2 traffic roadblocks on East Avenue and Dongyue Road. They blocked the traffic and caused disturbances.
It is reported that thousands, at its peak tens of thousands were gathered. Public Security Bureau in Hubei Province, the provincial armed Police and Jingzhou City public security bureau sent over thousands of armed police to Shishou. On the 20th evening many people clashed repeatedly with the police, resulting in a number of policemen injured and a number of fire trucks and police cars damaged.
After the incident, the central government gave important order and clear instructions for dealing with the incident. Leaders from the Ministry of Public Security, the Hubei Province Armed Police and Jingzhou City quickly set up a team visited the site to maintain order. After several rounds of negotiations the family agreed to send the boy to funeral parlor to conduct autopsy on the body.
The reporter learned from the family of the deceased that they got to see the victim’s suicide note, “we cannot determine the authenticity of the letter”. The family told the reporter. It is reported that the letter was provided by the police to the deceased’s family. In the note, there are mainly two things: first said sorry to parents and brother, we will be brothers after life also. Second, the deceased said that has always had a “shadow” following him, but what is the “shadow” the suicide note did not say. The deceased also said that he has some savings, would like to leave to the family.
The deceased’s family told reporters that the letter is not signed. With the writing they also cannot be sure if it is indeed victim’s hand writing. They intended to conduct handwriting identification later.
Witnesses reported that police came to the sense and determined it was suicide. But family members believe that the cause of death is suspicious, because in Tu’s nose there are dried up blood, but where the body hit the ground there are not blood at all. Also this hotel had similar incident 2 years ago, a hotel worker died in the same way. Hotel paid 30,000 yuan in compensation and as if nothing happened. And other people said, in 1999 this hotel also had similar incident. A female was suspected to be raped and thrown down the building. Some say the one of the hotel owners is Shishou city official, Hotel’s business has been very poor, and they were drug trafficking to stay operated. There are also drug users on Shishou willing to come forward and testify that the hotel were drug trafficking.
After the incident the hotel owner avoided Tu’s family and did not see them. June 18 victim’s family were finally contacted by the hotel owner, if admit it is suicide, 35,000 yuan will be paid as compensation, if not 8 o’clock that evening the body will be forced to be sent to a funeral parlor to be cremated. After the incident the police also repeatedly urged the family to send the body away for cremation. Also there are people tried to stop the funeral parlor renting freezer to the family. Most of the time the local temperature was above 30 degrees and the dead body was kept in the hotel. Tu’s family persisted refusing to cremate the body before investigations. The father placed a gas tank in the hotel and said he will perish with whoever tries to steal the body. Sympathizers began to gather at the hotel entrance.
Tu’s family guarding his body
Tu’s suicide note
June 19 1 am police cars and funeral vehicles arrived at the hotel and were prepared to take the body from the scene but there were 2,000 people blocking the hotel entrance. June 19 8 am Tu was already dead for over 36 hours, angry people were still not dispersed, several hundred people stayed overnight to protect the body. Pass 8 am people hang large banners in front of the hotel and gather signatures from the public. Soon the police once again came to the scene tried to forcibly take away the body, fights broke out between the police and the people at the scent. Dozens of protesters and bystanders were injured, but they were not sent to the hospital, but instead were directly booked into detention center by the police. This has increased emotional confrontation between the public and police. More people rushed to the scene. Because of the number advantages people started to take control of the situation. They repeatedly pushed back the police, Tu’s body were still there not moved. 1 pm afternoon, thousands of people started throw bricks and beer bottles at the police in order to prevent them to steal the body. Funeral cars were smashed. Dozens of police and under covers were chased out about 500 meters away from the hotel to hide. Near the bus station, main roads have been congested by the masses, buses were forced to take alternate routes but the vast majority of the passengers did not complaint.
June 19 3pm in the afternoon local police organized another attempt to take the body but were defeat people. About 40,000 people gathered in the streets, the number of people has reached the highest point. Shishou Police were forced to ask for help from the municipal government armed police. Evening of June 20 Jingzhou and other places redeployed a battalion of armed police. People started fighting the armed police with rocks, bottles. Many public security and armed police vehicles were destroyed. As the result of large number of people, police were forced to retreat.
The night of June 19 because of rumor said that the government will once again try to take the body at 5 am on June 20 Tens of thousands of people stayed on the streets that night not only a large number of people surrounded Yonglong hotel, but also blocked the city’s main intersection.
It reads “police is coming to take the dead body, everyone please come tonight for the victim…”
At 2 am on June 20 about 500 police and armed police lined up at the hotel to attempt to take the corpse again but as they come near, thousands of people attacked them with bricks and stones. Police and armed police were chased down for about 1 kilometer, some police were taken down. People did not let their guard down even after the police’s retreat, many volunteered to guard the hotel entrance. That night, dozens of people were injured or arrested, some of the police and armed police were also wounded.
In order to control the information of this incident spreading, June 20 evening in Shishou internet were cut off in all internet cafes, and electricity were cut around the Yonglong hotel area. Even the street lamps were not lit. It was later learned that the family of the victim called Beijing and Wuhan news agencies, but when the reporters went to Shishou they were stopped by the local officials. 19 alleged Shishou City Committee held an emergency meeting, announced all personnel at institutions are not allowed to watch the scene.
At 6 am June 20 Tu’s body is still in the hotel, have not been taken away. There were still thousands of people blocking in front of the hotel entrance. Around 7 am on-site staff’s cell phone received text messages saying large number of armed police arrived to the scene by buses, at the same time there were at least eight anti-riot vehicles and six fire trucks with high-pressure water hosts. Once again conflict cannot be avoided, Shishou citizens called for help from the outside world.
According to the eyewitness, 4:45 am on the 21st of June, nearly 10s of thousands of police heavily armed blocked all the roads. Car radio constantly announced “victim’s death is suicide” asking people to evacuate immediately or else bear the consequences. After the body was taken away at 8 am they cleared everyone. During the clearing, there were no large scaled conflicts.
Many people were arrested. One fire truck and two water hosts were smashed.
People news also confirmed that after the clearing of Shishou, Tu’s body has been “controlled” by the government. People news from Wuhan said “Party secretary of Hubei Province Luo Qingquan (罗清泉) and Hubei governor Li Hongzhong (李鸿忠) visited the city to dispose the case. Till 20th to 21st morning, the situation has gradually subsided. The corpse were in the hotel were sent to a funeral parlor and crowd dispersed.”
One person who was at the scene that night revealed to The Epoch Times, not counting the local public security, there are more than 30,000 armed police. “Body was taken away, No one to resist, do you know how many troops there are?” He said “less than 20,000 people were at the scene, how to resist? Shishou has not had that many muli-armed forces since 1998 flood, more than 30,000 people’s guards came to Shishou, for a body, is thought provoking!!!”
Sources said that the body of Tu before the clearing process was still in the hotel guarded by his grandmother. After the clearing of the crowd, Tu’s family was nowhere to be found. Some say the family was under pressure from the authorities to compromise, the body was cremated. Reporter tried to gather information from the local residents, but once they heard we were from overseas media, they all said not knowing anything or just hang up.
According to the insiders, at 3 am June 21 2009, about 150 armed personnel carriers approached the hotel from all directions, clearing process officially stated. There were 8,000 armed police sent to Shishuo and 10,000 soldiers were on standby near Shishuo city.
At 3 am June 21, there were armed vehicles, armed police carrying clubs mostly, some carried metal sticks, only a few carried guns at the clearing process.
A few hours before the clearing process, some street lamps were cut off, but before the arrival of armed police to the hotel the public did not panic, people continued to resist by throwing rocks and beer bottles, but because of the balance of power changed, the conflict has weakened. Many people were taken away by armed police and undercover.
Half an hour into the clearing, armed police and undercover police started to clear out people in front of the hotel. He crowd dispersed after the police spoke with speakers and fired warning shots. The police took control of the hotel and there were no large-scale conflict.
There are tons of Youtube videos on this incident
People were angry, Shishou government website is hacked
On the early morning of June 21, “NetEase” netizens “剑剑穿心” made a post on the forum “the Hubei Shishou Government website is hacked” and uploaded 2 screenshots showing it was hacked. From information on the net that the Shishou Government site was hacked in at midnight on June 21, 2009. There is only one sentence on the home age says “There is only one truth !—- BY Conan” and the title page is “Yang called animal message board V1.6”.
Shishou government webmaster change the home page, but soon it was hacked again this time it says “looks forward to the truth! – A dignified life”, “there will always be result” and other words.
The Epoch Times press enter “http://www.shishou.gov.cn/” also cannot open the Hubei Shishou city government site. The site is still down till today.
Update 6/25/2009 from Neteast:
Forensic verifies chef’s death is suicide
Spokesman for the city of Shishou told Jingchu Network (media) today, the Ministry of public security and Huazhong University of Science and technology of the authority for forensic experts tested the body through the anatomy testing, toxicology testing, X-ray… that Tu’s death is caused by falling and it is suicide.
Provincial Public Security Bureau and the jingzhou City Public Security Bureau Criminal Identification text technology sector verified and determined that the suicide note found in Tu’s room was written by him.
Tu Yuangao’s body was cremated on June 25 2009