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Mr Chen had been campaigning to shut the paper mills he said were poisoning his local rivers, after members of his family fell ill. When a local businessman, Jin Zengmin, posted pictures of a rubbish-filled river in Ruiâ€™an city on his microblog last week and offered officials 200,000 yuan (Â£24,000) to take a dip, Mr Chen followed his lead.
But soon after posting his own offer online, a group of men came to Mr Chenâ€™s home, his daughter, Chen Xiufang, told The Independent.
â€œWhile Father was alone at home, at 6am on the 24th, around 40 men and women in plain clothes who were recruited by the government came to the house,â€ she alleged. â€œThey came in and they started smashing everything.â€
Ms Chen said her father suffered injuries to his head and feet and that he was now on a drip.