A Death On Train 1291

(Southern Metropolis Daily)  Manic Passenger Died After Being Tied Down Overnight On Train.  By Tan Renwei.  October 7, 2008.

Train 1291 travels between Guangzhou and Zunyi.  In recent days, if you search for train 1291 on Baidu or Google, the leading results are not about the arrival/departure times for that train.  Instead, there are titles such as <I was there when the migrant worker died after being tied down on train 1291>, <Examining the notion of "guarantee" and "effectiveness" in the death of the passenger who was tied down on train 1291> ...  The stories are about a possibly manic person being tied down by the train conductors on September 25 and his subsequent death.

Several passengers who witnessed this incident posted onto the Internet, including photos.  The reporter interviewed these passengers and they all said that the information in those posts are true.

Railroad officials confirmed to this reporter that there was such an incident, but they challenged the titles of the Internet posts and as well as some of the details.  The investigative report has not been issued.  The family of the deceased informed our reporter that the burial took place in the hometown of the deceased yesterday.  His family has accepted 120,000 yuan in compensation from the railroad authorities, and they are still debating over whether to file a lawsuit.

The name of the deceased is Cao Dahuo.  He is from Renhuai, Guizhou province.  He is 30 years old, and he has a son and a daughter.

Train 1291 passenger Mr. Huang no longer remembers what Cao Dahuo was wearing.  He only remembered that his eyes were "very bright" "as if he was begging for something.  The look was heart-rending.  Even if a dog looks at you that way, it would tug at your heart and this is a human."  At the time, Cao Dahuo was tied down by the train conductor and the other workers but still struggling violently.

According to the information known to Cao Dajun, the younger brother of Cao Dahuo, his brother was healthy and working in Foshan.  One day, he suddenly became mentally disturbed and started to scream and yell.  Two hometown friends called the family first and then decided to take him back to his home in Renhuai, Guizhou province.  Cao's parents are still alive.  He has a wife, a 1-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter.

On September 24, train 1291 from Guangzhou to Zunyi set out two hours later than scheduled at 22:40.  Cao Dahuo and two hometown friends were seated in car number four.  At first, the other passengers did not notice them.

Cheng Zhunqiang was in the same car and he recalled in his post at Tianya forum: "After the train left the station, I heard a man in the front left talk loudly.  But he stopped after a few sentences, so I did not pay any attention.  During the trip, the man would suddenly get up and say some things aloud.  The two men sitting next to him would pull him to sit down again.  There were no arguments or physical actions.  After the train traveled for about an hour, the man got up again and acted as if he wanted to jump out of the window (note: this was not an air-conditioned car) while yelling aloud."

Passenger Mr. Huang also noticed the unusual behavior of Mr. Huang.  Later Mr. Huang posted onto the Tianya Forum and recalled what happened: "There were howls periodically from someone in the back of the dining car.  At first, the sound was low and people did not notice this discordant note.  But the sound got louder and more frequent.  It was mostly in some Guizhou dialect.  It affected the passengers who were trying to rest."

According to Cheng Zhunqiang: "At that time, some passenger recommended that Mr. Cao be tied down.  Someone called the train policeman, who summoned the train master, who decided to tie Mr. Cao up.  They immediately brought over the 6-mm-wide duct tape used for sealing boxes.  The head conductor and several train workers tied Cao up.  Cao's companions accepted the decision of the train master.  The situation was as follows: Cao's upper shoulders and chest (including his jacket) were wrapped with tape several times around.  There were several rounds around his legs below the knees at around 7-10 mm wide.  After being tied up, Cao began to struggle hard and the tape began to loosen up.  After the tape on the upper shoulders became loose, it was almost possible for him to use his hands to remove the tape.  The train master came and then applied more tape on Cao's wrists and ankles.  After those key positions were taped, Cao could not extricate himself.  But he continued to struggle and he begged the people around him to loosen the tape."

Mr. Huang said: "I saw that his hands, his body and his legs were held fixed.  A young man with glasses disagreed and said that this would not do.  The train master said that he would accept the responsibility.  At this time, Cao became more agitated and he started to curse loudly in dialect."  Huang did not understand what Cao was saying, but he heard Cao's hometown friends laughing out loud.  They informed Huang that Cao was saying: "The skies are falling down!  Someone is being killed!"  The young man with glasses described by Huang was confirmed to be Cheng Zhunqiang.

"All night, Cao kept asking to have the tapes removed.  Cao was alive.  When I saw him so painful, I kept comforting him.  He was very gentle at that moment."  Mr. Huang narrated: "In the latter half of night, most of the passengers slept while he kept screaming like a pig being slaughtered."

According to Cheng's narrative, at just past 7am on the morning of September 25, he went to dine in the dining car and he told the train  policeman what was happening.  Cheng said that no harm would come from undoing the tape because Cao was not attacking people.  But train policeman and a train conductor disagreed and they thought that Cao needed to be tied up.  "At that time, Cao was still very much alive."

Dawn broke after the train went past Maoming.  Cheng said: "It was past 9am.  The train master showed up and asked why the tape was loose again.  He went back and took a roll of the aforementioned yellow sealing tape.  As soon as I saw that, I got up and objected.  I said that it was painful enough to be tied down before, and therefore they should stop.  But the train master asked. 'What if he jumps off the train?  What he hurts someone?'  I couldn't say anything to that."

Mr. Huang was watching along with the other passengers.  Cao was not screaming any more.  Huang observed the train master applied several more of rounds of tape until "it was like a Dragon Boat festival rice dumpling."

Cheng Zhunqiang recalled that less than 10 minutes later, he looked down the aisle and saw Cao's feet twitching.  He went over and saw that Cao had turned pale and cold sweat was pouring out.  He immediately went to the dining car to tell the train master.  Cheng said that the train master told him: "I will be responsible if anything happens!"  He pointed at the train master and said: "Fine.  You are responsible.  I will testify to that!"

After Cheng said that, he raced back by Cao's side.  He borrowed a small knife from a passenger to cut the tape.  "But by that time, life was draining way from Cao.  I gave him water, but he could not swallow any more.  His tongue began to change color.  His pupils were no longer moving.  I could not feel any pulse or heartbeat.  The train master only arrived by that time."

Mr. Huang also became aware that the passengers were crowding towards the last car.  The announcement was made repeatedly that a passenger needed the help of any traveling doctor.  He knew that something had gone wrong.  After Cao was freed of the tapes, "his face was yellowish-blackish and his lips were purplish/greenish."

At noon on September 25, the train stopped at the Laibin station in Guangxi province.  The body was unloaded.  Cheng Zhunxiang also got off the train to call the police.

Cheng Zhunxiang heard that the train workers had written down "seriously ill patient" on the paperwork and he yelled out immeiately: "The man is dead, how could he still be a seriously ill patient?"  The train station workers immediately stopped the takeover and asked the train master to stay behind.

But the train master eventually left with the train. This train had only one train master, and the superiors called to tell him to continue to look after the more than 1,000 passengers on the train.

In the end, Cao Dajun accepted the proposal for 120,000 yuan in compensation from the railroad authorities.  This includes 20,000 yuan in insurance money and 100,000 yuan in compensation.  On September 30, he signed the agreement with the railroad authorities in Guiyang city and he received 120,000 yuan in cash.  The body of Cao Dahuo was then taken to Guangxi for cremation.  Cao Dajun is very grateful to Cheng Zhuxiang who continued to stay with Cao Dahuo after September 25.  Cheng has contacted Beijing lawyer Zhang Kai to help the family on any lawsuits.

Cao Dahuo was born on October 5, 1978.  Yesterday, at 12noon on October 6, Cao Dahuo was formally interred.

Chengdu Railroad Guiyang Section deputy director Mu Zejun took part in the negotiations with the family of Cao Dahuo.  He did not mind taking the telephone call from our reporter.  He said that he has read the Internet posts, which he said were not always consistent with the results of the investigation.  Mainly, the posters have avoided certain details (such as using the title <I was there when the migrant worker died after being tied down on train 1291> before the results are out).  As such, this is possibly misleading the public.  The investigative report is not out yet, so we should not make a simple judgment on the actions of the train master.

Mu Zejun said that if you seriously think about the post, you will discover a problem: How could a train master murder a passenger in front of more than 100 passengers?  The posts "deliberately evaded" this detail for some reason.  Mu Zejun said that the police should provide an explanation for this detail.

At the moment, the train master has been suspended from his duties and is being investigated.  "I ask people to trust that there will be a fair and equitable outcome."

Netizens admired Cheng Zhunqiang.  A total stranger not only had the courage to oppose the bondage, but he even personally removed the tape and insisted on keeping company.  He spent time and effort to do what should have been the duty of the family.  Cheng Zhunqiang did not think that it was big deal.  He told our reporter: "I did not spend anything.  I owe it to them.  If my courage had come 30 minutes earlier, none of this should have happened."  "They are insulting my conscience.  They think that punishing the train master a little is something extraordinary."

Mr. Huang is from Guangxi and he works in Guanzhou.  He was there during the incident.  When the train master tied Cao Dahuo down, an idea flashed across his mind to take photographs with his mobile camera phone.  But he did not, for which he regretted later.  "If I had taken the photos, they would be ironclad proof."

When Cao died, "Everybody in the car was frozen.  Yes, everybody was asking and blaming themselves.  On this train, who except the young man with glasses is not responsible?  I kept thinking back how I saw him each time that I went to use the restroom.  His eyes were filled with bright terror.  Why did I only harbor sympathy but took no action?  I hate myself for choosing silence like the majority."

"During this affair, I was like the observers in the stories of Lu Xun.  I despise myself."  Finally, he posted what he learned and his photos onto the Internet.  He thought that even if Cao Dahuo were mentally ill, it was wrong to tie him that way.  He should have been kept under the watch of his hometown friends in the conductors' room or some such.

When Cao Dajun was interviewed by our reporter yesterday, he said that he has been working in Fujian two years and he does not know the health status of his brother Cao Dahuo.  He does not know whether his brother died from a sudden ailment.  Therefore he is awaiting for the autopsy report, after which he will decide what to do next.  At the same time, he values the opinions of Cheng Zhunqiang and lawyer Zhang Kai.  Zhang Kai told the reporter that he has not formally entered the case yet.  Based upon the preliminary information, the key will be whether the train master has any liability.  If so, then it is definitely a criminal liability which could be either intentional or unintentional depending on the details of the situation.  He may go to Guizhou to investigate in person after a service agreement is signed.

Video Link: 乘客向南都网提供视频真实记录曹大和被捆绑后情形  南都网