CHINA: Watermelon-Man Death Prompts Micro Blog Uproar

LEXIE TUCKER WRITES – It never occurred to Huang Xixi that selling watermelons would be a business endeavor that could cost her the life of her husband. On July 27, police apprehended six urban management officers who reportedly attacked a married couple selling watermelons. The result left the man dead and his wife in a coma.

These six officers, also known as chengguan, were from the Linwu county branch of the urban management bureau in Chenzhou (which can be found in central China’s Hunan province). According to Tan Jiasheng, deputy director of the publicity department of Chenzhou city, the group was taken into custody on charges of inflicting intentional injury to the merchant couple.

The victim’s wife, Huang Xixi, told the police that she and her husband were merely selling watermelons by the side of the road when the chengguan men took four of their watermelons. After bickering and getting into a small scrap with the six, they picked up their stock and moved. The couple then began selling them at a road crossing, but the officers followed and fined the couple 100 yuan ($16.28). When one of the men declined to give them a receipt, Huang protested, thus igniting another attack.  She stated that the men “seemed like bandits.” Allegedly beaten into a coma, Huang awoke to find that the men had beaten her husband to death.

Perhaps the most interesting reaction was produced by micro blogs. The event elicited a huge amount of public uproar, with numerous netizens condemning the chengguan officers’ brutal law enforcement techniques. Now that citizens have the ability to share their thoughts and feelings with not only their friend and family but the entire world, will law officials finally begin to take responsibility for the less than appropriate actions of their employees?

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