China: Yinxiu Zhu

I have no regrets and I will fight again against such injustice in the future.”

— Yinxiu Zhu

Zhu Yinxiu, a brave peasant laborer, appealed against the township government's ill-treatment of her family – arbitrary fines, detentions and searches, and infliction of personal injuries. The incident was exposed in the media and the arbitrary levies on peasants were corrected to a large extent.

Zhu Yinxiu's brother-in-law, Chen Jiabao, returned to his home in Anfu, Jiangxi Province, during the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) in China. His family reported his return to the local township government because he had to be quarantined by law. Officials imposed a fine of 1000 yuan without reason and began to take the family's cattle and a motorcycle without giving a receipt or indicating the cash value of these items. When Zhu tried to take photos as evidence, the cadres quickly called more personnel from the township government and police station. Threatening to take away Chen Jiabao under the terms of existing regulations, they then tried to rob Zhu of her camera. The family and the cadres came to blows and police arrested Chen Jiabao and Chen Jialai, Zhu's husband. The cadres were unable to find the camera but they took Chen Jialai's agricultural vehicle and Zhu's motorcycle. Zhu and her husband were ordered to surrender the camera and hand in a behavior review; Chen Jialai was beaten up; the family had to pay 2300 yuan to recover the agricultural vehicle. Zhu decided to protest publicly against this abuse, despite discouragement from friends and relatives. She asked the media for help, and China Youth Daily published a full-page story. The Anfu city government immediately put out two urgent circulars stating that migrant workers returning home should not be subject to any arbitrary observation fees, check-up fees, isolation fees, deposits, or guarantee money by any township or village government, and that any fees and personal articles that had been collected must be returned at once. The practice of collecting arbitrary charges were corrected to a large extent and the economic burden on local peasants was alleviated. The cadres involved in the incident were transferred to other townships. Zhu fought a winning battle for justice.