Chinese Christian died because of police brutality

An underground Chinese Protestant has died after being beaten in prison, prompting protests against police brutality, according a Hong Kong-based human rights group.

Liu Haitao, 19, was arrested at an underground "home church" in the suburbs of Jiaozuo city, Henan on September 4, 2000 and died on October 16 in the Xiayi County Detention Center, the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said. Due to poor treatment and beatings, Liu came down with a high fever and began vomiting in early October, but police refused to allow him to seek outside medical treatment, the center said. He was in good health when he was detained, it added.

An official at the Xiayi County Detention Center told AFP that an inmate had died in a local hospital on October 16, but refused to reveal any other details other than saying that the inmate's name was Liu Tao, not Liu Haitao. The center said that leaders of the underground church in Henan province had called on international human rights groups to investigate the death of Liu Haitao, while protesting to the government to end the arrests and the police brutality against its members. Underground churches in China refer to Catholics and Protestants who gather in private homes to worship and refuse to worship in churches administered by the Communist Party and state.

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