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Xinhua's Vanishing Riot Report

One of the most interesting blips in the Guizhou riots was the release of a relatively in-depth Xinhua News Agency report on the clashes. It appeared on the Chinese web and then vanished as the government moved to quash any real reporting on the incident. I include it here in full:

By Xinhua writers Lou Chen, Wang Li and Huang Yong

WENG'AN, Guizhou, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Violence that an official said could have involved up to 30,000 people in southwest China has quieted down, after crowds angered over a girl's death torched government buildings.
The incident began when about 300 people, including some who were dissatisfied with a police report on the death of a 17-year-old girl, started to gather at about 3 p.m. on Saturday at the county government and public security bureau in Weng'an County of Guizhou Province, local government and police sources said. The chaos subsided on Sunday morning.
On Monday morning, order has restored to the county, in central Guizhou. Restaurants and roadside vendors opened business early as usual to offer meals. Downtown shops which were closed on Sunday were also reopened.
But traces of the violence were noticeable in the county government buildings. Police sources told Xinhua that 20 cops were wounded in the violence, and witnesses said more than 30 protesters were wounded.
A total of 20 burned vehicles were scattered in the yard of the Weng'an county government compound. Sections of the building of the county Communist Party committee had been gutted by fire, and a burned staircase was still smoldering. Dozens of government employees were clearing papers and other debris in the offices, doorways and on the stairs. About 100 armed policemen were patrolling the area.
"Although the incident has died down, I don't feel absolutely safe now," said Lu Xiaoli, a woman who owns a massage parlor near the public security bureau. "I was shocked by what happened. I hope the government can investigate, answer our concerns and restore security," she said.
The dead girl, Li Shufen, was a student at the No. 3 Middle School in Weng'an. Her body was recovered from a river in the county on June 22.
A police report said she had drowned, but her relatives contended that she was murdered. Some suspected that Li was raped and killed by people who had connections with local government officials.
Wang Jiao, a girl who studied in the same class as Li, together with two other men, was among the last people to speak to Li before she died. They were taken away by police after the death, and released the next day.
Vice county head Xiao Song denied connections between children of local officials and the girl's death.
But the police account proved difficult to accept for the girl's family and their supporters. Li's classmates and her landlord said she was a good student and couldn't have killed herself.
"She was a quiet and nice child. She seldom hung out or played around. I don't think she killed herself," said landlord Liu Jinxue, who helped pull her body from the river. Li's hometown was a rural township and she lived in a rented apartment in the county.
Liu told Xinhua that the girl's uncle, Li Xiuzhong, had several serious confrontations with the police, and was beaten by unidentified men in the street.
The uncle was in a county hospital last week, but had since been transferred elsewhere, Xinhua learnt.
Li's grandmother Lu Xiuzhen said the girl's father had departed for provincial capital, Guiyang, to petition the government and could not be reached. The mother had "gone mad" since the incident, she said.
"I demand the government thoroughly investigate the incident and give us a justifiable explanation," she said.
Sun Chengyong, a man who showed up among the crowd on Saturday, said the girl's death was "abnormal and deplorable", and he came along to show support for her family. One of the people in the crowd carried banners reading "Return justice to the people", Xinhua reporters saw.
The crowd swelled, eventually charging into the police building, witnesses said. Several vehicles and offices were torched. County officials said the government staff and police tried to persuade the crowd to leave and showed great restraint.
Police used tear gas to disperse the crowd. Local residents told Xinhua reporters they had not seen or heard the police fire gunshots at the crowd.
Vice county chief Xiao said the crowd reached as many as 30,000people at one point. Police sources said people who had no knowledge about the details of the girl's death were incited to mob the buildings.
The provincial Party Secretary Shi Zongyuan and governor Lin Shusen ordered local authorities to handle the incident properly according to law. The provincial government has set up a work team to handle the incident. It also sent 10 criminal investigators and forensic experts to reinvestigate the death.
Local government employees were ordered to assist the family and classmates of the deceased girl.
Provincial public security chief Cui Yadong, who is also a member of the standing committee of the provincial Communist Party committee, arrived in Weng'an to handle the incident. He said 14 people were detained on Saturday night.
No information was available on the number of people still in police custody. Sources said some detainees were released after brief inquiries.
The county public security bureau broadcast appeals for order to be maintained and demanded those who committed offences to turn themselves in.

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Comments (5)

wwwwwwwwww:

anonymous:

Even though people still have doubts about what really happened to cause that girl's death, this much is clear now: the three younsters that night were not related to any local officials. They are all ordinary farmers' kids.

Xinhua:

Unified national informant hotline

"China's Ministry of Supervision on Wednesday announced the discipline watchdog will open the unified national informant hotline on June 26 for the public to report discipline offences of civil servants and officials.

Since 1988, supervision departments and discipline watchdogs nationwide have established informant hotlines one after another.

The hotlines had broadened public channels to supervise officials and played an important role in the battle against corruption."

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-06/25/content_8438287.htm

Anonymous:

Has the official's son not been arrested for the rape and murder of the girl?

NO! Those bringing his offense and its cover up to the attention of the world are being arrested. Next, I expect the official to persecute them for libel.

HEADLINE: Gangs crackdown after Weng'an riot

Source: Xinhua | 2008-7-3 | NEWSPAPER EDITION

POLICE in southwestern China's Guizhou Province yesterday announced a four-month crackdown on gangs accused of inciting violence over a teenager's death.

Luo Yi, police chief of Qiannan prefecture, which administers Weng'an County, the scene of violent protests on Saturday, said the crackdown would "target gangs and criminal elements in Weng'an and its neighboring areas."

Police would also investigate the illegal possession of guns and explosives, gambling, and other organized criminal activities, he said.

Luo said Saturday's violence was "fanned and exacerbated by local gangs and criminals, who were organized in sending gasoline, machetes, clubs and fireworks to aid the destruction."

Up to 30,000 people were involved in the protest, which was prompted by a police report into the death of 17-year-old Li Shufen. Police concluded she had drowned, but her family and relatives say she was raped and killed.

The protest turned violent and rioters mobbed government office buildings. More than 150 police and protesters were injured. About 160 offices and more than 40 vehicles were torched.

Police believe 134 people committed the destruction. They took 59 people into custody. Sixteen of them are in police detention.

Luo said Li's death was an ordinary civil case and the gangs "made efforts to fan the flames."

Zhao Chenggui, who witnessed the voilence, said 200 to 300 young men led the riot at the government facilities. "They whistled with a long blast for charge and a short blast for retreat," he said.

"At times the whistles were drowned out by the noise, and the men shouted and gestured each other to continue the attack," he added.

The provincial government has since reopened the investigation into the girl's death.

A third autopsy on Li was carried out by five experts from the Guizhou Provincial Department of Public Security and the Provincial Higher People's Court yesterday.

Her father, Li Xiuhua, aunt Luo Xingju and a local villager who was elected to witness the autopsy were present.

Li's body was buried in her hometown of Yuhua Township yesterday afternoon. Hundreds of local villagers were present at her funeral.

expatinchina:

The riots in Weng'an are a sign of things to come in China. This country and its peoples have not experienced an economic down-turn in living memory. Pre-Deng there were lots of really horrendous times, but some people had idealism and the others knew who to blame yet absolutely couldn't. Now even though the security services are trying to observe people, the control just isn't there. THAT is what this shows -- hard times are coming and there isn't the ability to absolutely control things anymore. What's more, with the corrupt taking first cut of the economic pie -- regardless of the economic situation, the people know who to blame and WILL take it out on them.

China is quite possibly in for chaotic times in the next few years. The world economy is turning down, will get worse and won't be able to improve for 3 to 5 years. Granted lots of progress has been made here, but if things start to sink into any kind of chaos, the "investment climate" will become unfavorable so far fewer fools will throw their money into China. When the investment inflows cease, the pyramid scheme of stealing much, but certainly not all, of the investors money will come crashing down Causing a total collapse in the investment climate and, quite possibly, a Thai 1997-type crash. The difference here being that the collapse will be deserved because of the locals propensity to swindle foreigners, especially when it is on the massive scale of "investment".

Law:

"... The county public security bureau broadcast appeals for order to be maintained and demanded those who committed offences to turn themselves in."

Just like when the Tibet authorities urged rioters to turn themselves in.

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