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China 6 February 2006

Calls for killers of Wu Xianghu to be brought to trial

Reporters Without Borders has called for the killers to be brought to trial of Wu Xianghu, deputy editor of Taizhou Evening News in Zhejiang province, eastern China, who died on 2 February 2006 from injuries inflicted by police who stormed the paper’s offices three months earlier. The officer who led the raid has been dismissed but no criminal case has been opened against him or the other police officers involved.

"This award-winning journalist was killed because he wrote an article that upset the local police“, said Reporters Without Borders. “The Chinese authorities should not limit themselves to just sacking the person responsible for his murder, because that amounts to accepting that police have the power of life and death over journalists. This case indicates the climate of fear in which the media has to work,” it added.

(JPEG) Around 50 officers raided the newspaper’s offices on 20 October in reaction to an article it carried the evening before which complained of unfair taxes levied on electric bicycles.

The officer who led the raid, Li Xiaoguo, slapped the newspaper’s editor himself after which he left him to be questioned by subordinates, who continued to rain blows on to him. Wu Xianghu, who had a liver transplant two years earlier, was taken to hospital soon afterwards and died there on 2 February.

A few days after the incident, Li Xiaoguo, head of traffic police for the town of Jiaojiang, was dismissed. A local official told the Chinese new agency Xinhua that steps would be taken to ensure this type of incident was not repeated.

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