An amateur Chinese whistleblower, who spent his free time embarrassing Communist party officials by posting pictures of their luxury cars on the internet, was rammed by a car, blinded with acid, and deprived of two of his fingers.
Li Jianxin, 47, is in hospital after being attacked earlier this month, it has emerged. After his car was rammed from behind, three men took him to a remote industrial park in the southern city of Huizhou, doused him with acid and hacked at him with knives.
A woman in a worker’s dormitory nearby emerged to find Mr Li lying on the ground in a pool of his own blood and his six-year-old son wailing in his car.
Mr Li used the handle “Uncle Ou of Huiyang” to post dozens of reports of corruption on a popular local internet forum.
His younger brother, Li Jianhuang, said several members of one prominent family in Huiyang, many of whom work for the local government, had been particularly embarrassed by Mr Li.
“My brother reported more than ten cases relating to this family,” he told The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday night.
“They got their jobs through connections and bribery but are in fact extremely incompetent,” he said.
But he said he was not hopeful that the police will find his brother’s attackers. “The pressure from the local government is enormous because the influence of that family is huge. My only wish is to see my brother recover,” he said.
Li Jianxin is now scheduled for a second operation to give him a fake eye and a skin graft and remains in a stable condition in Huizhou Municipal Central hospital.
But his rhetoric has been accompanied by harsh treatment for those brave enough to take up his challenge. On Wednesday, a Beijing-based lawyer named Xu Zhiyong was detained by police and had his three computers and mobile phone confiscated.
Last month Mr Xu tweeted that he had been kept under house arrest since signing an open letter calling for the release of eight people who had campaigned for government officials to publish their assets.