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Subject: Gansu locked down after riots
Zhang Fei    11/22/2008 1:40:59 PM
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Zhang Fei       11/22/2008 1:41:49 PM

Local officials and residents say a curfew has been imposed on Longnan city following two days of violence between police and protesters." alt="" />

RFA Volunteer

A police officer kicks a protestor restrained by two fellow officers in Longnan, Gansu province.

HONG KONG—Authorities in the northwestern Chinese province of Gansu have imposed a curfew on some districts of Longnan city following two days of violence between security forces and local residents resisting eviction.

"The whole area is under curfew," a local official who declined to be identified said. "Any groups of more than three people will be beaten without mercy."

He said government propaganda cars were moving through the city following rioting Tuesday, warning local residents not to leave their homes, to be careful what they say, and not to gather in groups of more than three, on pain of strict enforcement." alt="Gansu_Police01.jpg" />
Police beat an unarmed civilian with truncheons during protests in Longnan, Gansu province. Photo: RFA Volunteer
"They were beating everyone they saw out on the streets [Tuesday]," he said. "They were saying in my department today that the police are attacking people. It's horrible. Things have got really serious."

"Nobody can say how many people they've beaten up. We don't know the number," the official, who described himself only as 'a public servant,' said.

"The only source of information is posters put up by people's relatives. There are really a large number. It is terrible. I am a public servant. I went out onto the street to see what was going on and the traffic cops and armed police beat me up too."

No Internet access

He said communications to the city had been cut off, and no traffic was currently moving in or out of Wu Du district.

"We are not allowed out, and we can't talk to anyone," he said. "The Internet has been completely shut down here in Longnan. Nobody can get any information out on the Web."

Nonetheless, video posted online showed groups of police in full riot gear moving in formation through the city streets, with piles of rocks and broken concrete at intersections of near-deserted streets.

Residents were seen sporadically hurling stones at security forces in the distance. Most people hurried past, apparently anxious to get inside.

A labor affairs bureau official said he wasn't able to discuss the topic of the violence. "We have to be careful what we say. They are arresting people," he said.

Thirty people were still detained in the wake of the unrest, which involved 'more than 2,000 people,' according to a report by the official Xinhua news agency.

'Under control'" alt="Gansu_Police03.jpg" />
Riot police move to confront protestors demanding government intervention in a land dispute in Longnan, Gansu Province. Photo: RFA Volunteer
"The situation is now under control in Wu Du but not before protesters burned and smashed local government buildings," the agency quoted Li Xuechun, the city's deputy Party chief, as saying.

Xinhua said 22 vehicles and 110 rooms, including some at the Party discipline inspection committee, the industry and commerce federation and the official trade union, were destroyed in the two-day protest, while the cost of the damage was estimated at more than 5 million yuan (U.S.$731,000).

It said 71 police officers and three journalists from the Gansu Provincial TV Station were injured in the unrest.

A protester from Dongjiang township surnamed Zhou, who surrounded the offices of the municipal Party secretary, said the clashes occurred because "people refused to leave the offices of the municipal Party secretary and were set upon with great violence by the regular police and the armed police who were trying to disperse them."

"The armed police moved first on the farmers, beating them. The farmers reacted in self-defense. Now they are trying to make them out to be unlawful rioters who smashed and burned everything," she said.

"They told the farmers to calm down a
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Zhang Fei       11/22/2008 1:44:29 PM

Thousands Riot in Northwest China

Witnesses report dozens killed" alt="" title="Burning vehicles block the road at the site of the riot. (Photo provided by mainland China Internet surfer)" border="0" height="262" width="350" />
Burning vehicles block the road at the site of the riot. (Photo provided by mainland China Internet surfer)
The largest riot in recent years broke out in Longnan City, in Northwest China?s Gansu Province, over a government-backed eviction project and unsatisfactory compensation to residents.

Sources say that in recent months, news about the Longnan City government moving its municipality?s administrative center from the Wudu District to Cheng County triggered worries and discontent among residents in the Wudu District. Those who are especially concerned include farmers whose land will be seized by the government but who have not been relocated or given compensation and residents who will be forcefully evicted from their homes, as well as land developers." alt="" title="Riot police hunker down behind their shield wall. (Photo provided by mainland China Internet surfer)" border="0" height="262" width="350" />
Riot police hunker down behind their shield wall. (Photo provided by mainland China Internet surfer)

Tens of thousands of residents made two attempts to attack the Communist Party Office in Longnan City, from late on Nov. 18 until early the next day. The crowd eventually grew to 50,000 people." alt="" title="A dense crowd of men and women, cheated by the government, gather outside the government building. (Photo provided by mainland China Internet surfer)" border="0" height="262" width="350" />
A dense crowd of men and women, cheated by the government, gather outside the government building. (Photo provided by mainland China Internet surfer)

The authorities dispatched armed police to suppress the riots. Over 100 farmers were injured, with several dozen severely wounded. Some witnesses said that about two dozen farmers died in the clashes.

Ms. Zhou, an eyewitness who is a resident of Dongjiang Town, told Radio Free Asia (RFA) that several hundred people who had been forcibly evicted first went to the Party Office in Longnan City on Nov. 18 to appeal to the government regarding the unreasonable eviction project, but the appeal erupted in a massive riot.

She said that by the following morning, the crowd had lost control and started to attack the Party Office. The first clash occurred when the authorities sent for a large number of armed police and used violence to disperse the crowd, injuring and arresting at least a dozen farmer?s representatives.

The police successfully broke up the crowd at around 2 a.m. on Nov. 19. However, the violence of the police further angered the farmers. A huge crowd of farmers again went to the Party Office at around 9 a.m. on Nov. 19 to demand an official response. The authorities, however, again responded with large-scale suppression against the sizable crowd of farmers and bystanders. video clip:]


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