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Netizens join probe into death in custody

THE Yunnan Provincial Party Committee has invited eight netizens and ordinary residents to join a committee investigating the death in custody of a prisoner who, police said, was playing blind man's bluff - "duo maomao" in the local dialect - with another prisoner.

Police said the man was knocked against a wall and kicked. He was taken to hospital on February 8 but died from brain injuries four days later.

The prisoner was Li Qiaoming, a 24-year-old from Beicheng Town of Yuxi City in Yunnan. He had been arrested for stealing and cutting down trees illegally. On January 30 he was sent to a prison in Jinning County before his trial.

The news sparked widespread discussions online and "duo maomao" quickly became a popular internet expression.

"Duo maomao," or hide and seek, is a version of blind man's bluff where a player is blindfolded and tries to touch or tag the other players.

Meanwhile two netizens will head the committee of 15 members, which includes four government officials and three journalists. The committee will start its investigation today, according to Oriental Morning Post.

The intention of the exercise was to let the public know the truth, and the investigating committee would meet the key figures in the case, said Jun Fei, vice director of the provincial publicity office.

The Publicity Office of the Yunnan Provincial Party Committee started recruiting for the committee at 4pm yesterday on major Websites in the province.

Up to 8:30pm, 517 people had applied for the positions, 450 of them through the online QQ messenger. The netizens and residents were selected randomly.


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