Police close case on eye attack but questions remain

By Steve George, September 4, 2013

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A simple row over domestic finances led to the eyes of a boy from Shanxi being gouged out, blinding him for life, says China's state media, thus quashing for good all rumors of human-organ trafficking or pedophile-sadist-devil worshipping.

Six days after the incident the child's aunt threw herself down a well. Until that point, she had not been a suspect.

Because until that point, the boy had told police his assailant “spoke with an accent from outside the area and had hair that was dyed blonde.”

The boy’s mother told AP that the boy was “disoriented after the traumatizing attack... said the accent was from another region, but he later amended that. He then said it was a local accent, but he did not say that it was his aunt.”


To recap: On August 24, the six-year-old Guo Bin was spotted by a scorpion hunter in the wilds of Linfen, a northern city in Shanxi, eyes yanked out.

State media immediately raised the possibility – some might say ‘spread wild rumors’ or simply ‘misreported,’ or who knows? – that the boy’s corneas were missing, presumed taken by rogue organ donors (so rogue, in fact, that they had taken to roaming the countryside, grabbing kids’ organs where they can find them in whatever fields are free for a spot of transplant surgery). Police says the eyes were found at the scene, corneas intact; the father told AP the family still has not actually seen the eyeballs. So even that organ-theft rumor still lives on, due to the police’s lies and/or ineptitude.

Six days later, his aunt Zhang Huiying, was found dead in a backyard well, allegedly the result of her suicide upon hearing that the police wished to speak with her.

On Wednesday, local police had announced Aunt Zhang and her husband were suspects, based on DNA evidence and neighbourhood inquiries, according to Xinhua. But the evidence did not seem to add up.

“Two policemen told me they found a purple top of Binbin’s aunt’s with the boy’s blood on it,” Guo’s mother Wang Wenli told Sichuan-based Chengdu Business Daily. “There was also [found] her fingerprints and hair skin on Binbin’s clothes.”

Wang originally said that her son described the woman who took him away as wearing clothes the color of “grapes.” But conflicting details remained unexplained. For example, Binbin often recognized his aunt by her face, according to the Beijing based Legal Evening News. And the aunt’s accent was neither foreign, nor her hair blonde.

Zhang worked at a poultry plant and took the main economic burden of raising three children, while the mother, Wang, runs a mahjong house, which brings in around RMB2,000 income per month (whether that business is legit or not, we don’t know). Wang was quoted as saying the only conflict she ever had with Zhang – who was the wife of the boy’s uncle, rather than a blood relative – was that Zhang had once lent her RMB3,000 that she had decided not to repay.

However, according to the AP, Wang denied reports of any dispute between the families and called them “just a lie.” Binbin’s father says he cannot believe that any domestic dispute could have triggered Binbin’s aunt to hurt him in such a horrible way. “Maybe she went nuts and flew out of control,” he suggested to Chengdu Business Daily, clearly at his wits’ end.

Aunt Zhang’s colleagues think she’s incapable of such a crime. “She’s decent person, hard working, never had a squabble with anyone,” one told Legal Evening. Colleagues added that Zhang has been “fragile” since being bitten by a snake and hated the sight of blood: even the scene of slaughtering a duck (a common-enough event in rural China) could make her faint, friends said.

While the official conclusion leaves as many questions unanswered as it purports to answer, one can trust China’s many famed psychologists to offer a reason based on either a) hatred of society or b) women. Step forward, Professor Li Meijin from the University of Public Security.

Li told us it’s not uncommon for people who appear timid and introverted to commit treacherous acts of revenge. “She has a highly limited social circle,” Li pointed out. “And even the tiniest thing may be over-thought and fill her up with hatred.”

Any further suspicions ought to be allayed by news that prime suspect Zhang is due to be buried today, on police orders, and that cops have cordoned off the entire village. No media allowed: Because that, of course, is how rumors start.

// Follow us on twitter @thats_beijing, @valentinaluo and on facebook.

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