Latest: Relatives say Lei Yang was beaten to death by police

The relatives of Lei Yang, a new father and a former graduate from Renmin University, claim he was beaten to death in a recent case that triggered a nationwide outcry on police violence in China.

Lei Yang

On May 17 (Beijing time), Lei’s relatives submitted to the People’s Procuratorate of Beijing Municipality an offense report (full context in Chinese) on Lei’s death, in which they said they had seen “with their own eyes” bruises throughout Lei’s body, evidence of use of “external force” on Lei, and that the surveillance video indicated he did not have enough time to have the service of a prostitute at the foot massage parlor on the night of May 7.

The relatives also asked the procuratorate to investigate the police officers involved in the alleged anti-brothel raid in which Lei’s was caught, accusing the police officers of “misuse of authority”, “intentional injury” and “falsification of evidence”.  

Hard to believe

According to the surveillance video clips provided to state broadcaster CCTV by the Dongxiaokou police station of Changping district, Lei was first seen on the camera at 21:00:34 on May 7 near his home. A second video clip shows Lei was 147 meters east from the involved foot massage parlor at 21: 04:18, while a third clip shows Lei was 67 meters west from the foot massage parlor at 21:16:50, the report said.

While the police said they saw Lei come out of the foot massage parlor at around 21:14, the relatives claimed that it was impossible for Lei to avail prostitute service within only around 10 minutes “based on common sense”, the report read.

Meanwhile, according to the report, Lei, who just became a father and was heading to Beijing Capital International Airport to pick up his family who came to visit him from South China’s Hunan province “had no intention to solicit prostitution.” It was also the wedding anniversary of Lei and his wife, according to the report.

“There is no evidence that can show Lei solicited prostitution at the foot massage parlor. And it is very easy for the police who have Lei’s body to falsify evidence,” the relatives said in the report.

A service woman at the foot massage parlor said in an interview with BTV on May 11 that Lei paid 200 yuan (around $30) on May 7 for the prostitute and she helped Lei masturbate, according to However, Gao Chunzheng, the police officer in charge of the expected trial of the case, said in an interview with People’s Daily on May 11 that they found a condom at the scene, and the DNA could prove Lei used prostitute service that night.

Besides the paradoxical testimonies, Lei’s relatives are also questioning if the service woman was absolutely sure the man she “helped to masturbate” was really Lei Yang.

The foot massage parlor where Lei Yang was caught on May 7 Photo: Fu Ming/

Use of force

In the report, the relatives said they had seen Lei’s body two times personally. The first time was at around 5:00 on May 8 at the mortuary of the Changping Hospital of Integrated Chinese And Western Medicine. But they were only allowed to see Lei’s upper body, which showed bruises on his forehead, arms, and neck. The second time was on May 13, when the relatives saw Lei’s whole body, with bruises even on his legs and “abnormal swelling” in his testes.

While the autopsy result is still to be released, the relatives believe that “it is obvious that Lei’s death was caused by external force.”

According to a witness, Lei was in a “physical altercation” with the plainclothes officers who didn’t have any identification marks, which broke China’s legal process for public security administration and violated regulation on performing duty in accordance with the law, the report read.

“Is it really hard for five policemen to control one person in a normal public security case? Why did they have to use such a brutal measure?” the relatives questioned.

In addition, the police on May 8 told Lei’s relatives that Lei died of heart attack, which the relatives did not believe either, because neither Lei nor the family had any heart disease history.

“It is clear that the police were covering the truth by saying Lei died of heart attack before there was any medical authentication,” said the relatives in the report.

While several questions still remain to be answered, the relatives said there was already enough evidence showing the police officers involved in Lei’s death “broke the law.”

According to article 234, 397, and 307 of China’s criminal law, when the party in-charge is suspected of intentional injury, abuse of power, and fabricating evidence, legal action should be taken against the charged party.

According to article 18 of China’s criminal procedure law, when staff affiliated with a national organ commit the crime of dereliction, hold someone in illegal custody, infringe people’s legal interests, or extort confession by torture, the People’s Procuratorate should step in for further investigation and prosecution.

According to Chen Youxi, Lei’s lawyer who was quoted by on May 17, the procuratorate said they will pay close attention to the case, and inform the relatives once they decide whether they will accept the case.

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