Chinese environmentalist beaten after challenging government official

Michael Bastasch | Contributor

An environmental activist was reportedly beaten by a group of baton-wielding men after he and three others called for Chinese environmental officials to bathe in the very rivers they were supposed to be protecting.

The Telegraph reports that environmental activist Chen Yuqian posted on the internet a vow to pay 200,000 yuan — about $32,000 — to the local environmental protection chief in if he bathed in a polluted river near Rui’an City.

However, Chen’s daughter said he was severely beaten by a group of baton-wielding men. An attack, she said, that was orchestrated by local government officials.

“My father was alone at home,” said Chen’s daughter. “Some 40 people turned up in plain clothes, some holding batons. The only thing they said was: ‘[You] used the internet, you always use the internet!’”

“The whole thing lasted four or five hours until the police arrived. My father got hit in the head by six or seven people, with their fists. He is now feeling dizzy and sleeping all the time,” she added.

Chen’s decade-long fight against pollution began after members of his family began suffering from red blisters which Chen suspected were caused by contaminated land and water.

Reports claim that China’s environmental protection agency has refused to publish the findings from a national survey of soil pollution, arguing the data is a “state secret.” Estimates say that as much as 10 percent of Chinese farmland is contaminated by arsenic, lead, mercury and cadmium.

The local Communist Party chief did not respond to calls for comment from the Telegraph.

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