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Undercover Reporter Investigating Rescue Shelter Beaten

A homeless old man bound lying on a stretcher in the lobby of a rescue shelter in Changsha, begging the reporter for help.
An old homeless man lying on a stretcher, looking at the reporter helplessly.
January 7, 11:50pm, in the lobby of the Changsha City Rescue Shelter, a homeless old man lies on a stretcher, helplessly looking at this reporter.

From QQ:

Reporter Disguised as Deaf-Mute Conducts Undercover Investigation of Rescue Shelter, Is Bound and Beaten by Staff

In 2012 late December, under a bridge in Changsha Yuhua District, a homeless man froze to death. This January 3, under a bridge in Changsha Kaifu District, another homeless man froze to death.

Two deaths in just a few days. Why would they reject the warmth and not go to the local rescue shelter?

This [Sanxiang City Express] reporter set out to join Changsha’s homeless, to truly experience their world.

“Detaining or secretly detaining those [homeless] seeking help is forbidden. Beating, verbally abusing, physical punishing, or abusing those seeking help or instigating others to beat, verbally abuse, physical punishing, or abusing those seeking help is forbidden.”

–In 2003, after the Sun Zhigang Incident [where a city resident named Sun Zhigang was beaten to death in a local rescue shelter], the “Management Measures for Homeless and Beggars with No Means of Supporting themselves” was enacted.

24 years without entering [a rescue shelter]

Why are homeless people unwilling to go to rescue shelters?

January 6, 10pm, it was very crowded on Changsha Jiefang West Road, and Luan Weidong too started to get busy: He wore a large military coat along with a pair of cotton pants and cotton shoes with a large plastic woven bag in his hand carefully sifting through a trashcan.

This life of collecting scraps in Changsha late at night is one Luan Weidong has already lived for nearly 3 years. Previously, he had wandered around the country 21 years, having worked in Xinjiang’s small coal kilns and Henan’s black brickyards… In 2009, he came to Changsha, “Changsha is a little warmer.”

Over these 3 years, volunteers, police, even residents on the side of the road have all tried to persuade him: Go to a rescue shelter. Every time he would smile and politely decline. “Rescue shelters ultimately send people home, but if I could survive at home, why would I come out to be a vagrant?” Luan Weidong says, he has gone a rescue shelter in another city before, but because he felt “like a prisoner” there, he has never gone again.

After spending a week continuously investigating nearly 20 homeless individuals in Changsha, this reporter discovered that even though their clothes were in tatters and could never get enough to eat, almost none of them were willing to go to a rescue shelter, preferring to scavenge and scratch out a meager living under bridges, in underground passageways, by construction sites, train stations and other places.

Just what’s wrong with rescue shelters? [Sanxiang City Express] sent reporter Dai Peng under the guise of a vagrant to find out.

Unable to connect

Unable to get through the rescue shelter’s telephone number 10 times in a row

January 7, at 9pm, this reporter stood with Luan Weidong at the street corner of Jiefang West Road and Taiping Street.

At this time, this reporter was wearing a worn-out cotton-padded clothes provided by Luan Weidong. “Completely cannot tell [that you’re a reporter].” — Luan Weidong said standing to one side.

Very soon, city residents passing by noticed this reporter and dialed the telephone number of the Changsha City Tianxin District Rescue Shelter.

At 9:38pm, when a city resident dialed the number the first time, nobody answered. Four calls were made successively afterward, but the line was busy every time. On the 6th call, the call went through but no one answered, and the next four calls were again all busy signals. After ten phone calls, this reporter was still unable to get help.

At 9:44pm, a city resident called 110 [the police emergency number] for help.

At 9:49pm, a police officer from the Pozi Street Police Station called and asked about the situation.

At 9:55pm, two policemen arrived at the scene and after diligently inquiring about the situation, they along with the city residents helped this reporter get into the police car, to be taken directly to the Changsha City Rescue Shelter located in Yaoling.

Surrounded and beaten by three people

Hands tightly bound, legs held down, knee pressed down on head

At about 10:30pm, after it was confirmed that this reporter hadn’t been drinking, staff members of the Changsha Rescue Shelter agreed to provide the relevant assistance.

About 5 minutes later, the police left, and the atmosphere at the scene suddenly changed.

“What’s your name? Where do you live?” This reporter raised his head and saw that the faces of the rescue shelter employees had already become icy cold.

Because [this reporter] was posing as a deaf and mute homeless person, this reporter gave no response. After asking several times without receiving an answer, the employees gradually raised their voices.

Then, one of the employees charged forward, circled around behind the reporter, and restrained this reporter’s hands tightly. Immediately, the two other employees rushed forward and held the reporter down.

Seeing that the beating might escalate, this reporter cried for help: “Rescue shelters can’t beat people, rescue shelters can’t beat people…” One of the employees said, “Not going to beat you, not going to beat you”, while suddenly tripping this reporter onto the floor.

Afterwards, while already face down on the ground, two employees pressed this reporter’s legs down, and instantly, this reporter could no longer budge, and breathing was difficult.

Give up help

“Now you want to leave? Too late!”

“I don’t want help [aid, assistance from the rescue shelter] anymore, I want leave, I want to leave!” Pressed to the floor, seeing stars, and feeling as if about to faint, this reporter helplessly began begging.

“Now you want to leave? Too late!” The rescue shelter staff member said rudely while pressing his knee to this reporter’s head.

“According to national regulation, the homeless seeking assistance can voluntarily accept the rescue shelter’s help as well as voluntarily decline the rescue shelter’s help. The rescue shelter cannot restrict the freedom of the homeless person receiving help.” After giving this reason, this reporter was still met with refusal [by the employees, to be released].

In the end, this reporter was helplessly forced to tell the staff employees his father’s telephone number far away in Zhejiang province, and only after his father negotiated this reporter’s release with the staff, did the staff workers finally release this reporter.

Then, the Changsha City Recue Shelter staff took out a form and demanded that this reporter write “I voluntarily decline assistance”, sign the form, and place a fingerprint before agreeing to let this reporter go.

At about 11pm that night, this reporter left the Changsha City Rescue Shelter, less than 40 minutes after this reporter first entered the rescue shelter.

Witnessed by reporter

Old man’s hands and legs tied, in the rescue shelter calling for help

At 11:30, when another [Sanxiang City Express] reporter entered the rescue shelter to rescue Dai Peng, he happened to discover at the time a stretcher placed on the ground of the lobby with an elderly homeless man lying on it.

His hands were tied behind his back with a white hemp rope, the rope digging deep into his clothes, and his two legs bound together with adhesive tape. He tried with all his might to sit up but we simply unable to, ultimately only able to raise his torso up a little, facing the reporter crying for help: Release me, release me!

The reporter hurriedly crouched down beside the old man and whispered closely to him asking why he was tied up, but the old man would only beg: “First release me, untie my legs, so I can sit up.”

The reporter saw that his hair was grey, his clothes were worn out and tattered, and there was a bloodstain on his lower lip that had already become a scab. When the reporter asked him if he had been beaten, he nodded, tears brimming in his eyes.

“I’m a reporter, not part of the rescue shelter, I don’t have the power/authority to release you!” Upon hearing this, the old man’s eyes darkened, and he no longer spoke to the reporter.

About an hour later, this old man disappeared.

[…]

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Comments from QQ:

腾讯网友 寒冰:

Is this how they help [vagrants]? Doesn’t the TV say they are very warm-hearted?

腾讯西安市网友 公司共享QQ:

When the people provide assistance [to the needy] or adopt orphans, we’re denounced as being illegal and not having the qualifications to do so. The country’s rescue shelters are legal and have the means to do so, but why are they unwilling to provide assistance? Because they think they themselves to be superior to other people, they think they are above the people. Strongly suggest that all [government operated] rescue shelters be shut down. Since these rescue shelters are useless, having them waste taxpayers’ money is truly intolerable!

腾讯濮阳市网友 快乐の理由:

This is no longer just being angry, not longer just being speechless! The country spends money setting up rescue organizations, only to end up employing these kind of beasts! Vile people holding sway, wicked people in power! Nowhere to turn to for help, just what kind of humiliation and abuse are those poor people who live at the bottom of society going through! This, it may just be the tip of the iceberg, so where are our relevant government departments? Where are our government leaders? Always saying how the people’s interests is their responsibility, now, how about slaughtering those beasts!

腾讯网友 〓邪恶蝙蝠〓:

See? Help you? Might as well wait for the Buddha of Mercy to help you. What kind of rescue shelters do we have nowadays? They’re just hanging the sign of being rescue shelters but doing the job of butchers. They are all a bunch of butchers, garbage, and beasts doing the job! Oh, oh, oh. I won’t say anymore. Afraid of cross border arrests [authorities from one province crossing into another province’s jurisdiction to make arrests or just intimidation]!!!

腾讯网友 海春:

After reading this news, my heart faintly aches, simply wolves in sheep’s clothing!!! Waiting for the government to give a clear explanation.

腾讯青岛市网友 夏日冷风: (responding to above)

There won’t be any explanation, it’ll turn out to have been done by temporary workers again.

腾讯深圳市网友 boy:

Since the rescue shelter doesn’t do its job, might as well tear it down and build a public restroom instead. Also, the dog-like civil servants who work there should all be fired. Sorry, I used profanity again.

腾讯网友 together:

It’s not hard to imagine why Sun Zhigang incident keeps repeating itself. Now a few years later, it still it chills people. To quote Sun’s epitaph: “Those who are dead shall remain dead, the villains have been punished by the law. Yet those who live in mansions and those who are trying hard to survive should both take it as an example, remember the weight of life, the weight of human rights, the weight of democracy, the weight of law, don’t let good people of the world be turned into prey.”

腾讯网友 影子:

Everyone, watch more CCTV Xinwen Lianbo news, and smash your computers!

腾讯北京市网友 健康是福:

What happened to this society? How did it become like this? Where have people’s sympathy gone? The country spends money setting up rescue shelters, but to employ these cold-blooded animals to manage it is no better than having wolves rescue sheep!

Written by Peter Barefoot

Peter is a born and raised Chengdunese who enjoys drinking with all his friends.

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