The death of a young chef sparks protests in Shishou City

The death of a young man in the Hubei Province of China is sparking protests. As many as 70,000 people have barred the police from removing the body of a young man who fell to his death from a third floor at a local hotel in Shishou City.
The public has been protesting what they believe is governmental corruption, torture and murder.

On June 17 the young man’s body was found in front of the Yonglong Grand Hotel’s entrance. On June 20 a Public Security Office released a statement about the incident.

The dead man is Tu Yuangao, a chef, who had left behind a suicide letter. The preliminary medical exam found no other fatal wounds on the body and ruled out murder. The family rejected attempts by the police to remove the body for an autopsy.

Eyewitnesses report that they saw no blood on the ground but did see blood clots around the man’s mouth, nose and ears. They also reported that the lower body of the man showed signs of severe torture.

The family was offered $5,200 on June 18 as compensation if they confirmed that their relative had indeed committed suicide. They were told if they did not the body would be taken away by force and cremated that evening.

The father of Tu Yuangao, 24, refused the offer. He said that he had cans of chemicals and that he would kill himself and anyone else who attempted to seize his son’s body.

By June 19 there were 2,000 people who had gathered around the hotel to help the father’s desire that the authorities not remove the body. The entrance to the hotel had been blocked to prevent the police to enter. Over a dozen people were beaten and taken to a detention center without receiving medical treatment.

Chinese media goes against these reports saying that there were no injuries during the protest.

China Daily reports:

“A handful of people have been detained, but I don’t know if they will be charged or given detention,” an official from Jingzhou publicity office surnamed Xiong, said yesterday.

That only served to fuel the anger of the people.

Radio Free Asia reports:

“We believe this may relate to some kind of illegal activities and drug issues going on in the hotel that resulted in the deaths of certain people. There have already been five mysterious homicide cases at the hotel, but only two cases have been solved,” Huang, one of the protesters said.

By that afternoon there were as many as 40,000 people on the streets near the hotel. The protesters were said to be throwing bricks and bottles at the police.

By early evening riot police had arrived on the scene using water hoses on the crowds. The crowd instead of leaving destroyed the fire trucks supplying the water. The riot police then used tear gas on the crowd.

On June 20 China’s media Xinhua released a report titled Many Departments in Hubei’s Shishou City Jointly Organized a Fire Drill for Vehicle Fires.

Bloggers reports on the incident from within China were removed by the government.

According to those that reside in Shishou there have been at least two other mysterious deaths at the same hotel. One took place in 1999 and the other in 2007.

Those in the city say that the hotel is a hotbed of criminal activity. It is believed that the young chef knew of secrets and those secrets cost him his life.

There are reports that the body of Tu Yuangao has been removed by the police but there is no confirmation on this report.

Radio Free Asia reports:

“A lot of armed police came and took the body away,” another protester said. “They detained a few people as well.”

“They persuaded the family to let it go after they agreed to go through a formal autopsy. We were just watching from the outside. At one point there were around 10,000 of us,” he said.

Shanghai Daily reports that the body was cremated at 4am and a funeral was held around 9:30am on Thursday.

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