Opinion / Editorials

Police brutality against migrant worker should be turning point

(China Daily) Updated: 2015-01-06 08:20

A video showing a police officer treading on the long hair of a female rural migrant worker, believed to have been beaten to death by police officers, not only shames the police in the city of Taiyuan, where the incident took place on Dec 13. It has also raised the question of how police officers should be prevented from using violence.

In this case, two police officers have already been detained on suspicion of beating the woman to death and injuring her husband. An autopsy was being conducted on Monday to determine the direct cause of death.

The woman named Zhou Xiuyun and her husband were among more than a dozen rural migrant workers from Central China's Henan province who were asking for the wages they were owed for their work they had done at a construction site in Taiyuan, the capital city of North China's Shanxi province.

The city's police authorities only admitted the abnormal death of the woman on Dec 26, 13 days after the incident took place.

An apology to the woman's family and the general public by the head of the local police was only forthcoming 20 days later on Jan 2.

No one knows how long the family would have to wait before the justice to be done had the video not been posted online, as the clip caught the public's attention.

The local bureau of public security has designed Dec 13 as the Day of Warning on Law Enforcement for all its police officers, which is the strongest redeeming response it has made. And the local police authorities have vowed to rectify the working style of police officers by not allowing any bad apple in the local police force.

But it is much easier for the police to lose their credit than to regain it.

In almost all wrong cases, including one involving the youth who was wrongly executed for rape and murder 19 years ago, police violence is at the heart of the issue. The use of force by police has often played a vital role in obtaining confessions and it is not rare for police officers to brutally treat detainees.

This incident should mark the turning point for the police all over the country to know that they have much to do to overcome their credit deficit.

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