Escape From Enshi

Here is a case study in which the Internet is shown to be less than trustworthy.  If the mainstream media had to report on this, both sides of the story would need to be checked.  Instead, this story was originally presented by one side as a blog post that was widely disseminated while the other side was silent.  By good packaging (such as photographs and an eye-catching headline), this affair became a hot news item.  Then the mainstream media came in and let the other side have some say.  Now, are we sure that we know what went on?


My name is Chen Li.  I am 28 years old.  I am from Pingtan county, Fujian province.  I am presently the person in charge of the construction project for the section X6 of the Hurongxi expressway in Enshi, Hubei province.  I am posting this item on the Internet after having my doubts for many days.  During those days, I worked very hard through many channels while risking my life, but things are heading in the opposite direction instead.  Therefore, I can only disclose the truth of the Internet and let you become aware of the pain, confusion and career setback of a business man.  I am also asking for help from all the netizens and media in the country, because you are my only hope of getting out of the perils.  I will assume responsibility for everything that is published in this post, and I have photographs and documentations as supporting evidence.

Foreman Tang Zhidong in critical condition after being assaulted

Construction site house after being vandalized

Migrant laborers waiting to start work in vandalized house

Three Violent Incidents

My construction team comes from a construction company in Pingtan county, Fujian province.  On November 26, 2005, we signed a contract (including a sub-contractor agreement and the job specifications) with the Number 3 Company, Zhongtie Bridge Department which won the bid for the whole project.

As of now, my side has completed about 10 million RMB of work, including the investment of our own capital of 7 million RMB into equipment for which we borrowed 4 million RMB.  Due to changes in the management of Zhongtie Bridge Department, the new project manager has been moving us off the originally agreed upon tasks.  But we have not been able to reach agreement about the payment due and compensation.

At around 7:00am on the morning of September 20, 2006, a person named Tan Binging brought along Long Daihua, Quan Keyu, Huang Zeyong and about 50 others (note: these names were given to me later by local friends) and they used machetes and steel poles (and one of them even had a handgun) to seriously injured our driver at the Zhongtie Bridge Department office.  They used our Mitsubishi Cheetah car (license plate Fujian A99265) to dump the wounded driver at the Lianghekou road, Beiguo town.  The car has not been found yet.

The gang also said that they intend to chase us out of Enshi.  On that day, I reported the incident to the Enshi city public security bureau crime squad and to Beiguo town police chief Xu Yuanfeng (telephone number 0718-8512013) to demand the perpetrators be held criminally liable and the project leader be charged with directing the crime.  As of now, both the perpetrators and their leader are still free.

According to our understanding, the masterminds behind this gang are the Zhongtie Bridge Department project manager Zou Xianquan and the corporate security director Long Fei.

At around 6:00pm on the afternoon of October 2, 2006, the same gang of illegal elements used machetes to severely injured the foreman and a construction technician at the X7 worksite of the Zhongtie Bridge Department project.  The foreman was slashed several dozens of times and he is in critical condition at the Enshi People's Hospital  where he has not regained consciousness yet.  The illegal elements are still free at this time, and the law enforcement people did not act.

On October 4, the same gang leader brought about 100 young men carrying long knives and sticks and charged into our worksite.  Fortunately, the migrant laborers were alert and they fled to safely.  But this gang brought along a bulldozer and destroyed our work shed.

(Chongqing Commercial News)

But the other party did not quit.  They even said that they would kidnap me, my partner and my driver.  So we had to keep changing hotels.  On October 4, we moved to Huade Hotel.  At around noon, we saw that their people had already moved into the room next door.  So we realized that they had been following us.

I posted the preceding item in a small Internet bar in Enshi and then we kept switching our locations: at night, we did not dare go to any hotel.  Instead, we parked the car and we slept in the car, being prepared to start the car and leave immediately anytime.

I and my partner are wandering around in a borrowed old Volkswagen Santana sedan with my driver.  My driver's head and leg injuries have not fully healed yet, but he is wandering around with us.

On the afternoon of October 5, the three of us decided to visit the worksite.  It was raining.  Our work shed was demolished.  Just over 20 migrant laborers are left from the original 200 plus, and they have no place to stay.  My heart was saddened.  I don't know how much longer we will continue to stay in flight ...

From the safety point of view, I ought to get away from this place.  But then I would lose all my money.

(Dongfeng Zaobao via

The perplexing thing is that most people in flight keep a low profile.  But Chen Li even left his mobile number on his blog.  Here is his explanation: "I hope that more people will pay attention, so that this matter can be resolved."  Yesterday, the reporter contacted this "millionaire in flight."  He said that he has left Enshi and he is "hiding" in Wuhan.  He told the reporter that Chen Li is just a pseudonym which he used because he was afraid of encountering even more retaliations.  He said that many reporters have contacted him already.

"The reason why I started the blog was that the matter was not getting resolved.  I hoped that through the blog, I can gain the attention of the media and then the matter can be resolved."  As for the reason why there was a dispute with the other company, he said that "they had a new manager who did not want us to continue to do the work.  But they were unwilling to compensate us according to our demand."

Yesterday, the reporter also managed to contact the person whom Chen Li was persecuting him -- the person at the Number 3 Company of the Zhongtie Group Bridge Department.  The security director Long Fei received our phone call and said excitedly: "They are pure bullshit.  There was no such thing as any 'persecution.'"  As to why they dismissed Chen Li's construction team, Long Fei said: "That was because the quality of their work could not be passed, and they were also behind schedule.  That was why the project manager ordered them to stop.  The original signed contract gave us the right to do so."  He said that the point of contention between the two sides was about the compensation.  Long Fei said that the company has discussed and negotiated with Chen Li many times without any result.  "They even came and trashed the office of the project team.  Our workers were injured, and they are still hospitalized."

"I heard that they posted on the Internet.  They are partners in that construction team.  The media reported by following the information in the blog completely without verifying the facts.  Our company is taking this seriously.  The public security bureau is beginning an investigation."

Although many netizens were sympathetic towards Chen Li about his experience, quite a few other netizens are skeptical.  One netizen wrote: "Is this all hype?"  Another netizen even analyzed the phenomenon: "There have been many disputes over construction projects.  In some places, there are even people threatening to jump off buildings.  On this affair, the most important factors why this became a hot issue were the eye-catching headline plus a trendy method (namely, a blog) to hype it up."