Friday’s New York Sun relates the story of a Chinese farmer discovered in a prison where he had been detained since 1974, without accusation, and forgotten about–as well as a student beaten to death while in detention for not having a residence permit. (The student turned out to have had the necessary alternative papers.) The only upside, according to the article, is that these incidents are being reported by an “increasingly hostile” Chinese press:

A Chinese farmer spent 28 years in prison without being accused of doing anything wrong and a three-year-old died abandoned with her mother in jail, the latest police failures to be attacked by increasingly hostile Chinese press.

…The incident follows the case of Sun Zhigang, 27, a student arrested in the Guangzhou for not having a residence permit. After he was beaten to death while in detention,it was discovered he should not have been picked up in the first place, as he had the necessary alternative papers. With the Chinese leadership attempting to be more responsive to popular complaint without allowing the floodgates to open, the government announced the vagrancy laws under which he was picked up were being abolished — and then banned papers from reporting on the case further. [June 27, 2003]

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