60-year-old Chen Yuqian, a villager in China’s Zhejiang province, was one of several activists to challenge local officials to swim in the area’s polluted rivers this month.
The movement, a new way to highlight the area’s environmental problems, made headlines around the world. Another local man, entrepreneur Jin Zengmin, offered 200,000 yuan ($32,000) to the local official, who still refused.
However, Chen seems to have borne the brunt of the repercussions.
According to a post on Weibo from Chen’s daughter, over 40 villagers arrived at his house on Sunday morning and proceeded to attack him. Photos posted to the account show Chen with scratches and bruises and blood on the floor.
The attack was said to have lasted four or five hours until the police arrived. According to the post, the people who attacked Chen were shouting “[You] used the internet, you always use the internet!”
According to the South China Morning Post, Chen’s family had long been known for their campaigning in the region. In the past they had accused local officials of allowing two paper mills to illegally dump industrial waste into waterways.
“No one has really ever cared about our lives or our plight,” Chen’s daughter told the Telegraph. “If we can’t work and live normally, and drink water safely, then what is the point in us living at all?”
The images posted to Weibo are included below:
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