Security tight in Beijing suburb after protest over worker's death


Policemen stand at the site of the 9 May 2013 protest on 9 May 2013Internet users and protestors have questioned the police's account of Yuan Liya's death


Busloads of police were brought in to a Beijing suburb a day after a protest over the death of a migrant worker.

Yuan Liya, a 22-year-old from Anhui, fell to her death on 3 May from a mall in Fengtai district in Beijing.

At least 100 people took part in a rare protest on Wednesday demanding her death be fully investigated. Many said her death was suspicious.

On Thursday, Beijing police issued a statement saying that Yuan Liya had committed suicide.

More than 10 buses and vans carrying police officers were in Fengtai district on Thursday, with AFP news agency reporting that hundreds of police were lining the streets near the mall where Yuan Liya had died.

Yuan Liya was a worker at the clothing retail centre, and was last seen entering the building on 2 May. She was found dead on the morning of 3 May.

A statement posted on the Beijing police's page on weibo, China's version of Twitter, said her death had been ruled a suicide.

Following investigation, "poisoning, sexual assault and homicide had been ruled out as causes of death", the statement said, describing her death as an "autonomous fall from a height".

Family members did not object to the cause of death, the statement added.

However, the cause of death has been questioned by friends and fellow migrant workers, who do not believe she would have jumped.

'Anti-riot vans'

On Wednesday, crowds protested outside the building where she was found. Police said nearly 100 people took part in the protest, although activists said the number was closer to a 1,000.

Police maintained a heavy presence in the district on Thursday, with reports of anti-riot vans deployed in the area.

"Today the security is so tight, I don't think anyone else will come and protest," Zou, a migrant worker from Anhui who had taken part in Wednesday's protest, told AP news agency. He would not give his first name.

Protestors outside the Jingwen wholesale centre on 8 May 2013Bloggers and activists said close to 1,000 people took part in Wednesday's protest

Coverage of the incident was limited in Chinese media, and several search terms related to the case were blocked on weibo.

The search terms "Yuan Liya", and "Jingwen", the name of the mall where she died, were blocked from weibo searches. As a result, the terms "falling off" and "Yuan X" were being used in searches instead.

Many weibo users were sceptical about the Beijing police's statement, and expressed incredulity that other causes of death had been ruled out so quickly.

"This was concluded really quickly, despite it being a case where someone has died. Probably, someone set the tone [behind the scenes]," one wrote.

User FORRESTRU 7pe wrote: "Indeed, she died by falling off herself! The question is why would a normal girl jump from a height. Rather, who made her die. Who did it?"

The scepticism reflects a common mistrust of the authorities, including from migrant workers, many of whom feel discriminated against.

There are millions of migrant workers within China, with many moving from poorer rural areas to the cities for work.