12.07.2008

The chicken thief and temperature manipulation

The man portrayed in this picture is suspected of stealing chickens. Yesterday, at 06:00 AM, he was riding a motorbike together with three other people. The four were spotted by the patrol squad of Shaohui village, Longhu county, Jinjiang (Fujian) who stopped and searched them. They were found in possession of some chickens and ducks, and could not give any satisfactory account of the manner in which they got them.



According to a villager who has witnessed the scene, from 08:00 to 10:00 A.M. the four men were paraded through the streets of Shaohui. Their hands were tied behind their backs, they were barefoot and shirtless. From time to time police officers beated them. Moreover, cold water was poured on them. Afterwards they were forced to kneel down outside of the local police station, where more cold water was poured on them. Xinhua reporters were forced to delete most of the pictures they had taken, and subtly threatened by a cadre believed to be the village head.

Exposure to extreme cold for prolonged periods of time (in this case three-four hours), a.k.a. temperature manipulation can lead to hypothermia and impact on reflexes, muscle tone, gastrointestinal and heart functions [read netizens' comments]. True, a temperature of more or less 10 (50) degrees cannot be considered extreme cold. But the suspect had cold water poured over him, and according to news reports a cold wind was blowing over Shaohui yesterday. So the temperature he perceived must have been near to zero (32) degrees. Someone born and raised in Fujian is used to mild temperatures, therefore even 3 (37) degrees can count as extreme cold.

I'd call this clean torture. Temperature manipulation leaves no signs. Afterwards this man will have nothing to show to the procuracy 检察院 should he ever want to file a lawsuit accusing the public security bureau of torture.

A question worth asking is: could he actually sue the PSB alleging torture? If temperature manipulation and the beatings were used to obtain a confession, the answer is yes. Provided that the man experiences one of more of the following:

  1. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or any other psychological symptom (caused by the emotional trauma he could have experienced during the parade)
  2. a damage to tissues, tendons and/or nerves (this could be caused by a too tight binding of the wrists)
  3. etc.


To be on the safe side, the public security station has denied any involvement. According to the public security stration director, the man was arrested and paraded by a patrol squad. And no professional relation exists between the patrol squad and the public security station 巡逻队与派出所没有任何业务关系. Also, he said, the man was forced to kneel outside of the 警务室, which is responsible only for birth and household certificate registration.

Jusdging from his argument, this guy seems to know legislation on torture quite well. Both points are questionable (I can explain why on ChinaLaw if you are interested).


A similar occurrence took place three days earlier in Changsha, where a teenager supected of theft was forced to wear a placard reading "I am a thief", [read netizens' comments].