Rights Group Reports New Rioting in Eastern China

Posted June 16th, 2011 at 5:30 am (UTC-5)
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A Hong Kong-based rights group says thousands of security forces have been deployed to put down unrest in China's eastern Zhejiang province, the latest in a series of recent disturbances across the country.

The Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said Thursday that residents have been rioting since Tuesday in Taizhou City after a local village chief was beaten by staff at a gas station. It said the village chief had been trying to negotiate an increase in land compensation fees.

The center said thousands of residents converged on the site and moved boulders to block a nearby road. It said the villagers were already resentful over previous land seizures.

The center, which receives information from a network of people across China, said thousands of security personnel were sent to put down the disturbances, which continued Thursday. The Associated Press said it had confirmed the riots with the owner of a nearby garment factory.

Earlier this week, hundreds of riot police were deployed to restore order in Zengcheng city in southern Guangdong province after three days of rioting triggered by the alleged mistreatment of a pregnant migrant worker by security officials.

Hong Kong television showed a rampage late Sunday in which protesters overturned police cars and riot police fired tear gas at the demonstrators. The report said at least a dozen protesters were arrested.

Last week, rioting erupted in Guxiang township of southwestern Sichuan province after a migrant worker said to be seeking payment from a local factory for back wages came under attack by factory personnel.

Separately, thousands of people attacked government offices in the central city of Lichuan last week, following reports that a city councilor had been beaten to death by police.

In Inner Mongolia last month, thousands of locals mounted protests after a herder was killed by a truck driven by a Chinese coal mining employee. The driver was convicted of murder and sentenced to death.

In late April, Chinese truck drivers shut down some Shanghai port facilities to protest new fees and rising fuel prices they said were eating away at their profits.