Monday, March 12, 2007

20,000 Riot in Communist China

Around 20,000 Chinese farmers and laid-off workers have rioted in central China.
Efforts to reduce inequality and sources of discontent have been a theme of government efforts to improve the livelihoods of its 750 million farmers

Nine police cars were burnt during the riot in the central province of Hunan.

The protesters clashed with about 1,000 police armed with guns and electric cattle prods, a local official said.

"They did it because they were not satisfied with some government behaviour," the official from the Hunan city of Yongzhou said.

"They were also unhappy about official corruption."

The overseas human rights website Boxun said the riot was sparked by dissatisfaction with rising public transport costs. The site, which is critical of China, is blocked on the mainland.

The Hunan official said the riot had been quelled and that scores of the rioters were arrested.

Both police and rioters were injured in the violence, and some of the rioters were sent to hospital, but none was seriously hurt, the official added.

A widening gap between rich and poor, corruption and official abuses of power have fuelled a growing number of demonstrations and riots around China, often sparked by seemingly minor issues.

The government has said the number of "mass incidents" in the country - a term that includes protests, petitions and demonstrations - was about 23,000 last year.

Buy guns. Do NOT register them. Keep your powder dry.


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