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The death of Village Chief Qian Yunhui last December drew widespread attention in China. His mangled body was found under a truck. Many believe the death was not an accident. Now authorities in Zhejiang province have cremated Qian's body, dashing any hopes for a full investigation.
One month after his suspicious death, authorities in China's Zhejiang province cremated the body of village chief Qian Yunhui. Qian's body was discovered under a truck on December 25. Many believe he was murdered by authorities for defending villagers' property rights.
Qian was cremated on Monday morning, after authorities pressured his son to agree that Qian died from a car accident. In return, authorities promised to pay Qian's family more than one million Yuan, about $160,000 U.S. dollars, in compensation. So far, the family has only received one fifth of the payment.
[Qian Chengxu, Son of Dead Village Chief]:
"They say it's a traffic incident, what can I do? We're under a lot of pressure and can't take this anymore. My mother says there's no other way—we feel, how do I put it—I am sorry to my father."
Those who have been following this case say the settlement sets a dangerous precedent.
[Wang Dejia, Dissident Author]:
"This violates basic laws and procedures. The government is trying to cover up something with the cremation. This is blatant murder, and if it's not punished, the public will become more violent. Today Qin is the victim, tomorrow it may be us."
Many private citizens and journalists have tried to investigate Qian's death. But with his body cremated before any autopsy was done, their efforts may prove futile.
Last Wednesday, a newspaper based in Yunnan province reported that police had first beaten Qian with batons and then had him crushed by the truck. That report was soon removed by authorities.