Runored Riots In China Finally Hit the Press

Posted on August 1, 2011


The financial community knew about it long before we did: there are riots in China.  Here is the first article I could find about what is going on in one part of China.

Residents describe ‘scary’ China riots

(AFP) – Jun 15, 2011 

ZENGCHENG, China — Residents of a southern Chinese town on Wednesday described frightening scenes of overturned cars engulfed in flames and armed police out in force after days of violent clashes.

A heavy security presence remained on the streets of Zengcheng, which is part of the greater Guangzhou area — a bustling city in China’s industrial heartland packed with migrant workers that lies near the border with Hong Kong.

The clashes, sparked by rumours spread on the Internet that police had beaten a street hawker to death and manhandled his pregnant wife, have so far led to 25 arrests.

“It was very scary — the scariest thing I have encountered since I was born,” said Chao, a 27-year-old owner of a denim shop in Xintang, a garment district in Zengcheng, which is about 90 minutes by car from central Guangzhou.

Chao said at one point in the melee, there were a “few thousand rioters” facing off against a massive police force, adding: “They burnt down one of the buildings.”

“Together they flipped police cars and set them on fire. A few hundred policemen then came. They started beating people indiscriminately with metal batons,” he told AFP, declining to give his full name.

More than 1,000 police officers were reportedly deployed to Xintang over the weekend.

On Wednesday, the streets of Xintang were quiet, according to an AFP reporter, but many shops and restaurants remained closed, while police armed with batons and shields carried out regular patrols.

Burn marks could also be seen on the ground and on a three-storey building. Many locals were too afraid to speak about the incident.

“The atmosphere is tense and we all feel a bit nervous. We are not supposed to talk about it,” said You, a 42-year-old garment worker who also refused to give her full name.

The man rumoured to have been killed during the police operation targeting street hawkers appeared at a press conference held by the local government on Sunday, saying he, his wife and their unborn baby girl were “doing very well”.

The police operation quickly escalated into violence, with the crowd hurling bricks, rocks and bottles at local officials and police, as well as vandalising ATMs and police posts.

Armed police officers reportedly used tear gas to disperse the crowd.

“All around the village you can see burn marks on the ground because of the fires. I have been stopped five times by policemen asking what I was doing here,” said a 59-year-old motorcycle taxi driver surnamed Chen.

“On the first day of the riot, the fighting continued from 11:00 pm to 6:00 am the next day — it was very bad. You can see today it’s much quieter but authorities are still out in full force,” he added.

China sees tens of thousands of protests and other public disturbances each year, often linked to anger over official corruption, government abuses and the illegal seizure of land for development.

Such incidents have been prominent in recent weeks.

Ethnic Mongols in north China protested for days against the encroachment of grasslands by mining concerns, while in late May a disgruntled man killed four people including himself in revenge bombings over property confiscation in the south of the country.

Two officials were meanwhile detained in central China after 1,500 protesters clashed with riot squads following the alleged death in police custody of a local legislator, state press said on Saturday.

What The Riots In China Really Mean

Gordon G. Chang, 07.08.09, 01:45 PM EDT

Ethnic conflict has exposed the Communist Party’s vulnerabilities.

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This week, rioting left scores dead in Urumqi, the capital of China’s troubled Xinjiang region. The latest official death toll is 156, but that number undoubtedly understates the count of those killed. The disturbances are accurately portrayed as ethnic conflict–Turkic Uighurs against the dominant Hans–but they also say much about the general stability of the modern Chinese state.

That state says the Uighurs are “Chinese,” but that’s not true in any meaningful sense of the term. The Uighurs are, in fact, from different racial stock than the Han; they speak a different language, and they practice a religion few others in China follow. Of the 55 officially recognized minority groups in China, they stand out the most.

The Uighurs are a conquered people. In the 1940s, they had their own state, the East Turkestan Republic, for about half a decade. Mao Zedong, however, forcibly incorporated the short-lived nation into the People’s Republic by sending the People’s Liberation Army into Xinjiang.

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