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Last Updated: Friday, 11 January 2008, 06:33 GMT
Official sacked for China beating
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An official in central China has been sacked following the killing of a man who filmed a dispute between villagers and city inspectors, reports say.

Qi Zhengjun, chief of Tianmen's urban administration bureau, was sacked and 100 people were being investigated over the incident, a top official said.

The beating to death of the man on Monday prompted a national outcry.

Thousands of people posted internet messages calling for the government agency involved to be abolished.

Tianmen Communist Party chief Bie Bixiong described the killing as "unforgivable", pledging that "all the people involved will be punished severely according to the law, no matter who they are".

Para-police

The violence happened in the central province of Hubei.

Local people attempted to stop a rubbish truck from dumping refuse at a site that they argued was too close to their village, state media reported.

Members of the Chinese municipal inspectors, known as the Chengguan, intervened.

A para-police force equipped with steel helmets and stab-proof vests, Chengguan personnel are often used by local officials as trouble-shooters.

The victim, Wei Wenhua, the manager of a construction company, was driving by and stopped to film the confrontation on his mobile phone.

When Mr Wei refused the Chengguan's demands to delete the footage, he was beaten to death on the spot, according to witnesses cited by Xinhua news agency.

Five villagers were also injured in the incident, of whom three remain in hospital, Xinhua reported.

Local police have so far questioned 24 Chengguan personnel over the killing, of whom four remain in custody.

The death triggered protests in Tianmen and sparked a nationwide call for a rethink of the Chengguan's role.

Correspondents say that ever since the Chengguan came into existence 10 years ago, they have faced repeated accusations of excessive force.



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