China: Gansu under siege after riots

Authorities in the northwestern Chinese province of Gansu have imposed a curfew on districts of Longnan city following two days of violence between security forces and local residents resisting eviction. Fighting began Nov. 17, when some 1,000 people attacked a government office, smashing cars and beating police and officials. A group of more than 30 seeking redress for the loss of their homes and land were joined by hundreds more outside a petition office.

An official statement said that after repeated attempts at mediation failed, police “had no option but to use force to disperse the leaders of the rioting criminals”—but the protesters resisted with rocks, bricks and farm implements, and overran the offices. (RFA, Nov. 21; Reuters, Nov. 17)

See our last posts on China and the peasants’ struggle.

  1. Does this look like socialism?
    Just asking. From the BBC News, July 26:

    One killed in China steel riot
    Thousands of Chinese steel workers rioted at news of a takeover deal, beating one manager to death, a Hong Kong human rights group has said.

    About 100 people were hurt in violence in the north-eastern city of Tonghua after workers heard that Jianlong Steel would buy a majority share.

    They were reportedly frustrated at financial problems during Jianlong Steel’s temporary control last year.

    Jianlong general manager Chen Guojun was beaten to death, the group said.

    The Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said 30,000 steel workers clashed with riot police on Friday in the north-east province of Jilin.

    The centre reported that Mr Chen was paid about three million yuan ($440,000) last year, while Tonghua’s retired workers received as little as 200 yuan a month.

    The South China Morning Post quoted a police officer as saying the workers would not allow emergency medical staff to enter the building to help Mr Chen.

    The Tonghua workers also reportedly blocked highways and smashed three police vehicles in Tonghua city, the centre said.