Homeless center denies reporter beaten

By Yan Shuang Source:Global Times Published: 2013-1-10 0:38:01


Hands and feet tied, a homeless man lies on a stretcher in the reception hall at a rescue center in Changsha, Hunan Province. Photo: CFP
Hands and feet tied, a homeless man lies on a stretcher in the reception hall at a rescue center in Changsha, Hunan Province. Photo: CFP

Officials in Changsha, Hunan Province, denied Wednesday that an undercover reporter disguised as a homeless man was beaten by staff at a government rescue center.

Dai Peng, a reporter with the Changsha-based Sanxiang Metropolis Daily, wrote that he was beaten Monday evening, when he paid a covert visit to the city rescue center of Changsha. His report suggested other people seeking help at the shelter had likely been mistreated by center staff. Dai said he took photos of a man lying on a stretcher with his hands and legs tied.

Changsha Civil Affairs Bureau and police have been looking into the case, and bureau officials told the Global Times yesterday employees were following procedures when they were forced to have "physical contact" with Dai as they suspected he was carrying dangerous items in his pocket. Employees later found he was carrying a voice recorder and asked him to leave, the bureau said.

"Center employees and police asked for Dai's name and physical condition but he remained silent. He grew agitated when asked whether he took drugs, and reached into his pocket. The employees were afraid he was carrying dangerous items. He refused to be frisked, fought back and fell during the conflict," Wang Ying, a deputy director with the rescue center, told the Global Times.

According to surveillance video provided by the bureau, Dai can be seen being held on the ground for about five minutes.

The center required Dai to sign a release form before letting him leave the homeless shelter. As he was leaving he saw an older man, with his hands tied and feet taped, crying for his help, Dai said.

In an online exchange on Weibo yesterday, Dai said the authorities had not yet contacted him. He said he is recovering and will release video proof showing that he was beaten by shelter staff.

"The civil affairs administrators have lost the public's trust. I know some homeless men who refuse to go to these centers as they don't think they will get much help," Gan Yuanchun, a lawyer in Changsha, told the Global Times.

Gan said he saw a homeless boy beaten by rescue center employees on the street of Changsha two years ago.

Homeless people or those with mental disorders found wandering on the streets are routinely sent to rescue centers. There have been reports that some people in need are sometimes mistreated at the centers. Sun Zhigang, a 27-year-old resident in Guangzhou, was beaten to death at a government rescue shelter in March 2003.

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