Sun Zhigang (male, 27) worked with a garment company in Guangzhou.
On March 17, he was detained by police and sent to a holding center
and three days later he died at a clinic for holding vagrants and
beggars. Wuhan Evening News
tells about the days Sun's
family members in Guangzhou tried to find out the real cause of his
Crying towards the funeral parlor
Even some three months later, the 54-year-old Sun Liusong, Sun
Zhigang's father, still has a color of shock on his face when
recalling that terrible moment.
"It was on March 20. A woman classmate of Sun Zhigang called from
Wuhan, saying Sun Zhigang might meet some trouble in Guangzhou.
When I asked what's wrong, it seemed she did not want to tell me at
first because she inquired whether Sun Zhigang has younger sisters
or younger brothers. Upon my insistence, she told me that Sun
Zhigang died in a holding center clinic in Guangzhou."
the same time, Sun Zhiguo, who works in Wuhan, also got the bad
news of his elder brother's death. The father rushed to Wuhan from
Huanggang by taxi, then the two caught the train that night,
arriving in Guangzhou at 11 am March 21, the very next day. All the
way they could not help crying.
Then they ran to the funeral parlor to identify the body. Without
any knowledge of law, they just felt very puzzled and suspicious
when being told Zhigang died of cerebral hemorrhage and a heart
attack. However, in their memory, Zhigang had never had such a kind
of disease because he liked sport activities and was good at
running and swimming.
"Moreover, Zhigang was healthy before he left home," said the old
Sun. After spending the Spring Festival at home, Zhigang left for
Guangzhou. When saying goodbye to the families, Zhigang shook his
father's hand and said with deep motion that he really did not want
to leave if it was not for the sake of work.
the following two days, Zhigang first visited his aunt's home in
Wuhan, and then he went to Guangzhou.
Facing difficulties everywhere
After arriving in Guangzhou, this small group of five people,
including Sun Liusong, Sun Zhiguo and Zhigang's uncle Sun Haisong,
all slept on the ground at the rented room of Shu Chuncheng,
Zhigang's high school classmate.
the five adults crowded in a small room until 20 days later Shu
Chuncheng moved out and left the room for the Sun family.
an unfamiliar city, the Sun family found it extremely difficult to
"At first, we did not know what to do. Some said to employ a lawyer
in Guangzhou while other said to employ a lawyer in their hometown.
We asked some lawyers in Guangzhou, but they dared not handle the
case. So we had to go to the police station and the procuratorate
everyday to inquire."
the gate of Guangzhou Civil Affairs Bureau, one staff member came
downstairs to collect the materials but asked them to go to the
Public Health Bureau because Zhigang died in a clinic. While in
Guangzhou Health Bureau they were told to go to the medical
association to investigate the situation in that clinic.
The most annoying thing was the staff in the clinic where Zhigang
died, who added as many difficulties as possible to the Sun
For Zhigang's death, they first insisted that Zhigang died of
cerebral hemorrhage and a heart attack. When the Sun family wanted
to see Zhigang's clothing, they refused by saying they were lost
forever. Later when the Sun family went again, nobody came to meet
them. What's more, they arranged for five people to guard the door
in case the Sun family broke in.
Though the situation was very hard, the Sun family had just one
thing in mind, to know how Sun Zhigang died.
Tide over a most pressing need
That was at the end of March, a prime time of the SARS epidemic
when almost everyone hid at home. Yet, the Sun family was the
strangers in a big city, they often took wrong buses and lost their
Time passed by but there was no development in the probe of
When they really fell into deep disappointment, Wang Xiangbin, the
lawyer employed by their relatives in their hometown, gave them the
suggestion to get medic-legal expertise the sooner the better. But
the cost of 4,000 yuan was far beyond their reach as they nearly
spent all of the 3,000 yuan they brought from their hometown.
"Thanks to Zhigang's classmates," Sun Zhiguo picked out several
pieces of paper with lines of donations but with few names on
According to Zhiguo, all together there were 18 students in Sun
Zhigang's arts class of Wuhan University of Science and Technology.
For the three times, they sent the total 8,000 yuan cash to tide
over their most pressing needs. Due to this sum of money, Sun
Zhigang's medic-legal expertise was completed.
the following days, many people constantly called the Sun family
and sent money. Whenever talking names like Professor Ai Xiaoming
with Zhongshan University, Phoenix TV host Dou Wentao, poor Sun
Liusong was always moved to tears.
"My family will never forget these strangers who gave their
support," said Sun Liusong, the poor father.
The truth is out
They came to the medic-legal expertise center of Zhongshan
University on April 3, Sun Bingwu, Zhigang's uncle recalled.
Generally speaking, it takes about a month to get results of an
autopsy, however, touched by Zhigang's sad story, doctor Liu
Xiaoshan together with his colleagues worked hard to get the report
half a month in advance.
The Sun family did have the right to doubt Zhigang's death. The
report pointed out that Sun Zhigang died from frail cell tissue,
through injuries and traumatic shock according to general
fatal injuries could be found on the outside of Sun's body. But
when the examiners made the first cut on his back hip, they found a
blood trace under his skin, of about 60*50 centimeters size. In his
lifetime, Sun was 1.74 meters tall, and quite strong. A blood trace
of this size means that the trace area was about as large as all of
addition, the autopsy proved that there were no problems in
Zhigang's inner organs. "The dreadful medical change was not
found." The mass blood in Zhigang's back caused his death.
A change for the better
"No words could describe our thanks for those who helped us."
Whenever reporters interviewed him, Sun Liusong, Sun Zhigang's
father, always asked those reporters to express their thanks,
especially Chen Feng and Wang Lei of the Nanfang City
Indeed, through more than one-month-long desperate appealing for
justice, the Sun family had already made their mind to fight a
protracted warfare. At that time, how eager they wanted to find a
reporter who can speak out to uphold justice. But several
newspapers they tried refused their request. Later, one of
Zhigang's classmates who worked in the Supreme People's Court
contacted the Nanfang City News and the latter agreed to
report it. Finally on April 25, "Sun Zhigang was beaten to death"
was exposed to the public, which attracted the attention from
senior leaders at the central and provincial level.
May 11 is a new beginning for the Sun family. They were staying in
a three-star hotel in Guangzhou. Leaders from Guangdong Province as
well as the departments concerned went to visit them and expressed
strong anger. They all promised that this case would be made clear
no matter how difficult it was.
May 18, Sun Zhigang's remains were cremated in Guangzhou.
From then on, things went very smoothly.
June 9, 81 days after Zhigang's death, a total of 12 people guilty
of beating the young man to death were identified, and received
death penalties or terms of imprisonment ranging from three years
to life from Guangzhou Municipal Intermediate People's Court.
"Now Zhigang can sleep well in the nether world, but it is still
very painful whenever we think of him." Zhigang's father showed
some of Shigang's personal effects: several collections of
Zhigang's art works including drawings, cut papers, statues and
embroidery. Opening fashion ads, Zhigang's father said in tears,
"The cloths made of Zhigang's design are all sold out, a very good
Sun Zhigang's file
Sun Zhigang, male, 27 years old, graduated from Wuhan University of
Science and Technology in 2001. He first found a job in Shenzhen,
then came to Guangzhou working in the Daqi Garment Co. Ltd February
around 10 pm March 17, Zhigang left his room as usual and went to
an Internet bar. On the way local police held him because he did
not have temporary residence permit.
the following three days, he experienced three different places:
Guangzhou Huangcunjie police station, Guangzhou Municipal Holding
Center and Guangzhou Clinic for held vagrants and beggars. On March
20, Sun Zhigang died there.
(China.org.cn translated by Zheng Guihong, July 8, 2003)