Shanghai Residents Demand Justice for Petitioner Death
October 30, 2013
BEIJING — Some 600 protesters gathered in front of a Shanghai district police headquarters this week to demand justice for a local petitioner who they say suffered fatal injuries while in police custody.
Shen Yong, a resident of Shanghai's financial district of Pudong, was taken from his home earlier this month by police. He was released two hours later barely breathing. His son, Shen Yaming, says that he died shortly after.
“My father was beaten to death, I saw his body and the upper side was all covered in bruises,” he said.
Shen Yong had started petitioning after his home was forcibly demolished in 2008. Since earlier this year, he had occupied a vacant lot in the same district where his home had been. Authorities accused him of squatting, and say that the complex owner had repeatedly notified Shen and his family to move out.
On Monday, Shen's friends and other human rights activists went to the Pudong Public Security Bureau to demand authorities investigate allegations of foul play and police brutality in Shen's death. Among them was Kong Lingzhen, who also saw Shen's body and volunteered to report to the police as a witness.
According to activists who were at the rally, police detained about 100 people - including Kong, who is 63 years old and disabled.
“A killing has to be investigated, so I went with them on the 28th. I went to speak with the criminal police and I was attacked, they said they would detain me for ten days,” he said.
Kong said that because of his poor health and high blood pressure, the police released him early the next morning.
Human Rights in China - a Hong Kong based human rights group - said eight participants were still in police custody on Wednesday. Activists reached in Shanghai confirmed at least four people were being held by police.
Shanghai petitioner Mao Hengfeng also participated in the demonstration. She said that only by actively demanding justice, similar tragedies can be avoided in the future.
“We need each ordinary citizen in China to understand the gravity of a corrupt government that kills a man like this,” she said. “Today they casually kill Shen Yong, but tomorrow it could be us.”
Mao Hengfeng has been active in the Chinese human rights movement for many years, and has a history of challenging the authorities over some of their most controversial practices, including forced abortions and forced demolitions.
She said, as in past incidents, she has been overtly threatened by authorities in this case.
“They told me in so many words: the next to be beaten to death is Mao Hengfeng.”
The Chinese government has set up specific offices and hotlines through which citizens can redress abuses from local governments. But petitioners say the system is designed to fail and a very small number of cases get resolved through the official channel.
Land requisition, forced evictions and unfair compensation are major sources of unrest in China, where there is no privately owned land and local governments rely heavily on land sales for their operating revenues.
Shanghai-based economist and self-taught human rights lawyer Feng Zhenghu said the property development of the city of Shanghai has benefited the interests of the local government and developers, at the expense of residents' rights.
Forced demolitions used to be widespread, he says, and people had little bargaining room to push for a better deal.
“But now large scale development, at least within the city, has pretty much finished,” he said. “The situation is somewhat better now, but if past issues have not been resolved, they will continue to be problems.”
Two days after Shen Yong's death, the Pudong district government information office released a statement saying that Shen became unconscious and died of a sudden illness and the body did not show marks of external injuries.
“Should the family have further demands, they can ascertain the cause of death through an autopsy report,” the statement read.
Shen's son, Shen Yaming, said in an interview with VOA that criminal police from the Pudong district said it will take more than a month to have the final autopsy report.
He said his family will be satisfied if the report shows the truth of what happened, and explains the injuries he saw on his father's body.
gather (v) 聚集
petitioner (n) 請願、訴願者XXXXX * 去除-er 字尾，petition 可做名詞或動詞的「請願」；當動詞用時，後接介詞 for (支持) 或 against (反對)：petition for/against something 是「請願支持/反對 . . . 」
bruise (n) 瘀青
約六百名抗議人士聚集在上海的一警局前，要替一位日前在警察拘留期間 (in police custody) 遭致命傷害 (fatal injuries) 的訴願民眾 (petitioner) 討回公道 (demand justice)。上海浦東經濟區 (financial district) 的市民沈勇日前被警察從家中帶走，兩個小時後被警方釋回，卻僅剩半條命，呼吸微弱 (barely breathing)。根據沈勇兒子的說法，沈勇於警方釋回後不久 (shortly after) 即死亡。他說：「父親是被毆打致死 (beaten to death)，他的上半身佈滿瘀青 (all covered in bruises)。」
demolish (n) 破壞 ; 拆除XXXXX*demolition 是本字名詞
squat (v) 非法佔據
complex (n) (一般指多棟組成，外貌、功能相同的)大樓XXXXX*complex 也是形容詞，指「複雜的」，此時同 complicated
foul play (n phr) 犯罪；謀殺XXXXX *foul play 在運動場上是指「犯規、違例」，跟殺人無關
rally (n) 集會
detain (v) 拘留，扣留
沈勇住屋在2008年被強制拆除 (forcibly demolished) ，沈勇從那時起即開始向政府訴願。今年稍早時，他回到了市區占據了舊屋原處的一個空地 (a vacant lot)。相關當局 (authorities) 指控他非法佔地 (squat)，並表示大樓主人 (complex owner) 多次地 (repeatedly) 通知沈勇一家搬離。
多位沈勇的朋友與人權運動人士 (human rights activists) 到浦東公安局 (Public Security Bureau)前，要求當局對沈勇遭到殺害 (foul play) 與警察暴力 (brutality) 的指控 (allegation) 展開調查。當天參與集會 (rally)的人士說，警方扣留了約一百人，其中包含一位行動不便的 (disabled) 63歲老者。
gravity (n) 嚴重性；危險性
overtly (adv) 明顯地；公然
人權運動人士毛恆鳳也參與了這場示威 (demonstration)。她認為只有主動要求正義 (demand justice)，才能避免未來同樣的悲劇。她說：「每個中國公民 (citizen) 都必須意識到腐敗政府會如此取人性命的嚴重性 (gravity)。如果政府今天能如此若無其事地 (casually) 殺害了沈勇，明天被殺害的可能就是我們。」
毛恆鳳多年參與中國的人權運動，曾挑戰過中國政府許多高度爭議性的施政 (controversial practices)，像是強制墮胎 (forced abortions) 或強制拆除 (forced demolitions)。她表示，一如過去的事件 (as in past incidents)，這次她也受相關當局公然地 (overtly) 威脅。
redress (v) 糾正，矯正
eviction (n) 逐出
unrest (n) 動亂；動盪
中國政府設置 (set up) 辦公室和熱線電話 (hotlines)，專用用來糾舉 (redress) 地方政府的欺民行為。但訴願者認為這個舉報系統的設計是注定失敗的 (designed to fail)，僅很少數的案子能透過官方管道 (through the official channel) 解決。
土地徵收 (land requisition)、迫遷 (forced evictions)、不公的賠償 (compensation)，是現今中國社會主要的動盪來源 (major sources of unrest)。
at the expense of (prep phr) 以 . . . 為代價
ascertain (v) 查明，確定XXXXX *注意發音：
autopsy (n) 屍體解剖
馮正虎是上海的經濟學家，也是自學而成的人權律師。他認為，上海的不動產開發 (property development) 以市民的權力為代價 (at the expense of . . .)，受惠者卻是當地政府與開發者。他表示，強制拆除的情況在過去還更為普遍 (widespread)，人民也沒有討價空間 (bargaining room)，而現在的情況好轉主要是因為市區內大規模的開發 (large scale development) 已大致完成。
浦東政府在沈勇死後兩天發出聲明，說明沈東是陷入昏迷 (unconscious) 後因急病而死，身體無外傷痕跡 (marks of external injuries)。聲明中提到：「家屬若還有進一步要求，他們可透過驗屍報告 (autopsy report) 來確認 (ascertain) 死亡原因 (the cause of death)。」
對於現在和未來還沒有真實發生的事情，可以分成高可能性與低可能性兩種，結構上都是由 if 引導的子句做假設的條件，後加上主要子句做假設的結果。
對於有可能的未來提出假設時，句型是： If S+ V (現在式) , S + will + V. 例句：If you don’t hurry, you will miss the bus. (你動作不快點的話，你就趕不上公車了。) 事件在說話時尚未發生，但可能性是高度存在的。
新聞中有一句：" If past issues have not been resolved, they will continue to be problems." 此例句 if 引導的子句中用了現在完成式的否定句，這比簡單式動詞還多了點強調「至今都沒有」的語氣，表示都市開發在過去的爭議事件如果至今都還遲遲無法解決，未來也繼續會是問題。
相較於上述高可能性的假設，可能性極小的假設的句型是： If + S + should + V , S + would/ could/ might (弱化的助動詞) + V. 例如：If he should steal from us, we could fire him. (要是他真的偷了錢，我們可以炒他魷魚。) 此例句中，我們認定他偷錢的機會不大，所以加了 should 表示「萬一、若真是」的語氣 (這裡 if 子句裡的 should 千萬不要理解成「應該」的意思)。這種用 should 表示「萬一」的句子，還有特殊的倒裝寫法。先把 if 省去，然後把 should 放到主詞前，改寫成：Should he steal from us, we could fire him.
回到新聞中，浦東政府對於沈勇之死的說明中有一句是這樣的：Should the family have further demands, they can ascertain the cause of death through an autopsy report. (沈勇的家屬若真有其它的要求，他們可以透過驗屍報告來確認死因。) 這句子使用了「萬一」的假設語氣，去掉了 if 並使用倒裝句。政府的語氣透露出，沈勇的家屬理應沒有疑義了，但要是真的有疑問的話，那還有後續作為。但這裡的主要子句搭配的助動詞是can，而不是 could，表示「能夠、可以」，這在語氣上較為肯定，態度也比較堅定，符合事情的嚴肅性與重要性。
Check your vocabulary!
Fill in the blanks with a word or phrase from the list above. Make necessary changes. After you finish, select the text below to reveal the hidden answers.
1. Tests were conducted to ascertain whether pollution levels have dropped.
2. The penalties should be proportionate to the gravity of the offence.
3. We decided to hold a rally to put pressure on the government.
4. Can you all gather round ? I've got something to tell you.
5. I banged into the shelf so hard that I got an ugly purple bruise on my hip.
6. The entire east wing of the building was demolished in the fire.
7. The police have ruled out foul play in the case of his death.