Close

Donate today to keep Global Voices strong!

Our global community of volunteers work hard every day to bring you the world's underreported stories -- but we can't do it without your help. Support our editors, technology, and advocacy campaigns with a donation to Global Voices!

Donate now

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Young Woman's Suspicious Death Triggers Rare Protests in Beijing

Thousands of people took to the streets in Beijing on May 8, 2013, in response to the suspicious death of a young migrant worker named Yuan Liya. Currently, all information regarding the death of Yuan Liya is unsearchable online in China.

The 22-year-old woman's body was found lying outside Wenjing Shopping Mall around midnight on May 3. Yuan had come to Beijing to find work to support her family in Anhui. Both Yuan's boyfriend and mother have demanded the Beijing police release the CCTV recording of Yuan's death. However, the Beijing police claim that the case was a suicide and refuse any further investigation.

Among the thousands of protesters, most are migrants from Anhui province who work in Beijing. Below is a citizen video showing the protest scene:

A post titled “The Mysterious Death of a Girl in Wenjing” circulated on online forums on May 7 but was quickly deleted by internet censors. According to House News [zh], which is based in Hong Kong, the post said Yuan was in a room with many men before her body was found outside of the shopping mall on the pavement beneath the room. Most of the original posts have been deleted. Below is a cached version of a discussion of the original post in an online Baidu forum [zh]:

Yuan Liya. Via House News. Non-commercial use.

Yuan Liya. Via House News. Non-commercial use.

失去水的鱼11:听说是保安干的,几个保安都跑了,现在好像有一个自首了,相信很快就有真相了。可是警察好像被贿赂了,记者也不来,都怕摊上事啊。。。
我等不到的春天:什么时候我们才能正确的去看待人命的呢!没钱没权的命,难道就不值钱的吗!
阳光67799:要把事实弄清楚,从前面的一段文字看,就是女孩自己跳的楼也得算他杀。
yanjs2011:一群男人是什么人呀,干嘛凌晨四点还在一起呢????
哼特猎人:求真相咋就这么难?我们真的没有安全感了!
立木斤_7875:派出所办事方式:“自杀”、“没立案”、“无权查看” 呸—–难道警察就没有义务查出是他杀,还是真自杀吗?给家属一个交代,希望有一人受良心遣责,道出真相。
雷朕语:求公布于遇难者在同房间的男子姓名。相信以广大网民的力量可以揭示真相。
你愧胡:人都死了,连个真相都不让家人知道。这是什么世道呀?不是现实的悲惨世界吗?

“Fish Out Of Water”: The hearsay is that the security guards did it. Some of them escaped and one surrendered himself to the police. The truth should come out soon. But the police might have been bribed and there are no reporters following up the case. They were afraid of revenge…
“I Can't Wait Til Spring” : When will be able to treasure human life as it is? A life is worth nothing if it does not belong to someone wealthy and powerful?
“Sun 67799″: We have to dig out all the facts. According to the description of the post, even if the girl jumped out from that window by herself, she was murdered (because she was trying to escape from rape).
“Powerful Words”: [They] should disclose who are the men in that room. I believe netizens could dig out the truth.
“Shame On You”: The girl is dead and you still want to cover the truth. What kind of world do we live in now? We live in the world of Les Miserables.

In response to the protest, the Beijing police explained their investigation on Sina Weibo [jpg, zh]:

經調查走訪並調查現場及周邊監控錄像,反映該人於5月2日晚單獨進入商城內,次日5時許墜樓,未發現與其他人員接觸;現場勘查,屍體檢驗亦未發現可疑情況。目前,警方正在進一步工作中。

Upon investigation, interviews and reviewing the CCTVs around the death scene, the person [Yuan] entered the shopping mall alone on the evening of May 2 and fell from the mall at round 5 a.m. the next day. We have not see any evidence that she was in contact with others. There is nothing suspicious about the death scene and the dead body. Currently the police are still carrying out their duty.

But the police update did not earn people's trust. Microbloggers raised many questions in the comment section [zh]:

图图Win:如果像传说的有后台,那你们作为政府工具你们怕后台!!!后台敢和你们弄?!我草草草!怂比!

“Winxutu”: If the hearsay that [the shopping mall] has a powerful background is true, and as the instrument of the government, you are afraid of such background, what kind of background can touch the police? What the f**k!

起檀檀檀起:好像是说女孩儿是被5个保安强奸了,警方不敢立案是因为京温老板后台很强。没调查就直接火化了,女孩男朋友去说不是直系亲属无权调查录像后来她妈去了说是自杀的没立案。出了这么大的事,没一家媒体敢报道,微博把关键词屏蔽。真是黑啊!现在数百人都在游行示威了,目前直升飞机都出动了。

“Building A Stage”: The hearsay is that the girl had been raped by five security guards. The police gave up the investigation because the boss behind Wenjing has very powerful background. The body has been cremated without investigation. The girl's boyfriend asked the police for CCTV records; the police said he was not a direct relative. The mother asked for the CCTV; they said the case would not be investigated because it was a suicide. Such a big incident and not a single media outlet reported on it. The Chinese microblogs have filtered all the keywords related to the case. This is so corrupted. Now that hundreds of people are protesting you send the helicopters.

小姐你节扌喿掉了:为发现可以现象???案件八大疑点疑点一:死者并无自杀的任何预兆和理由。通过和她来往的朋友了解到,她5月2号在大红门早市下班后都很正常,下午一点发给男友的微信也很正常,跟男友感情一直很好,没有理由要自杀; 疑点二:死者为何要在京温市场内部待上整整一夜后再跳楼? [...]

“Virginity Lost”: Nothing suspicious found? There are eight suspicious spots. First: There is no sign and reason for her suicide. According to her friends, she looked normal when she left for the shopping mall on May 2 and the message she sent to her boyfriend at around 1 p.m. was normal. Her relation with her boyfriend was very stable. There is no reason for her to commit suicide. Second: Why did she stay in the Wenjing shopping mall for one whole night before she jumped down? …

田正经:几个疑问:1.家属说是被强奸杀害,警方说没有与他人接触。2.既然有视频监控录像证实,网上却说不让家属看监控录像。3.既然无可疑情况,为啥出现大规模人群聚集,武警、警察、直升机都出动了。4.为啥网上全面屏蔽和删帖。

“You Yizhizhu”: A few questions: 1. Her family insisted she was raped and killed; the police said she had not been in contact with anyone. 2. The police said they had CCTVs as evidence. How come the family could not get access to the videos? 3. If there is nothing suspicious, how come so many people are protesting in the street and the armed police and helicopters were sent to the protest scene? 4. Why have all the discussions been deleted and censored online?

ashenyi:公开信息 把一切放在阳光下 才能取信于人民!

“Ashenyi”: Disclose all the information under the sun to earn people's trust!

悠悠子洛:解决方法:1,公开或请多家民间媒体和家人监督监控录像查看过程;2,尸检过程需要家人和媒体监督;3,这侦察结论在没有相关报告时别下得太早,尤其是息事宁人的结论会引众怒;

“Youyouziluo”: Solution: 1. Disclose the CCTV footage to a number of citizen media outlets and the victim's family; 2. Let the family and media monitor the autopsy; 3. The conclusion should not be made until all the reports come out. The kind of conclusion that aims to pacify people will instigate more anger.

潘譩:如果是自杀为何要进行信息封锁呢?

“120TC”: If it is suicide, why is all the information and discussion censored and blocked?

This morning the Beijing Police published another official micro-blog saying that all evidences show that Yuan's death was caused by her jumping down from the building and the family has not disputed against the police report. Yet, netizens are very quick to highlight the strange wording of the police post:

陳明樓主: “自主高坠死亡”是法律术语还是刑侦术语?什么意思?有参考书可查或法律可查吗?

“Chen Ming”: “Death caused by autonomous-falling from high rise” is this a legal term or criminal investigation jargon? What is its exact meaning? Any related reference or law that we can look into?

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site