Ruili residents demand justice for Shan resident allegedly beaten to death by Chinese police

Residents of a Yunnan border town are accusing Chinese police of beating to death a Myanmar man while he was in custody for an undisclosed reason. The death comes amid sweeps for undocumented Myanmar migrants in the province, according to locals.

Sai Maung Nyunt, a native of Shan State and resident of Jal Mai Village near Ruili, was arrested on August 17, according to a neighbor. His body, bearing bruises, was returned to his family on August 22. Residents have demanded the local police station be brought to justice for alleged murder.

Over 100 residents of Jal Mai Village staged a protest in front of the Naodong Police Station on August 25.

“We demanded the Naodong Police explain to us why he was arrested, why he was beaten and why he died. But the police didn’t give us any response. They neglected us,” said U Lone Yi, head of Jal Mai Village.

“We are demanding the police station give us compensation money [so we can] hold a seven-day funeral service. We staged more protests against Naodong Police on August 29 and 30. The police said it was impossible [to meet our demands]. We will continue to protest if they fail to handle this fairly,” he added.

The family has refused to bury Sai Maung Nyunt until the circumstances around his death are revealed.

Sai Maung Nyunt was on his way home from a donation ceremony when he was arrested, according to Sai Maung, another resident of Ruili.

“When the police informed his family on the 22nd, they gave back his bruised corpse. The Jal Mai Village head and residents are protesting against [the Chinese authorities] and demanding an investigation in order to have justice,” said Sai Maung.

Sai Maung Nyunt, 53, was a native of Man Mawn Village in Mansi township along the divide between Kachin and Shan states. He married Pa Kham Pin from Ruili, and lived with her in China. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.

According to Ruili residents, Chinese police have been cracking down on Myanmar migrant workers in the areas since early August.