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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Archive for the ‘Dongzhou’ Category

2007: A Year of Unrest Across China

Posted by Author on December 28, 2007

Radio Free Asia, 2007.12.21-

HONG KONG— China saw a turbulent end to a troubled year, with several people detained across the country in connection with mass civil rights activities ranging from land disputes, to complaints against the government, to industrial action.

Police chief Zhou Yongkang has said that “actively preventing and properly handling” mass incidents was the main task for his Ministry of Public Security this year.

But in the space of just a week more than a dozen riots, strikes, and demonstrations were reported by RFA’s Mandarin and Cantonese services.

In Dongguan city, a booming manufacturing city in south China’s Guangdong province, villagers were beaten by police after several hundred of them tried to blockade the village committee offices in protest at a land deal they say was unfair.

“Almost all our villagers, about several hundred villagers, went to protest. When we blocked the committee office, the…armed police beat us,” one villager told RFA’s Cantonese service.

A familiar story

The story of Dongguan’s Baima village is a familiar one now in villages across China, where property prices have boomed in the last decade. This has rendered responsibility contracts signed by many rural families next to worthless, as local officials use a combination of back-door deals, re-zoning, and bribery of elected village chiefs to turn massive profits on land sold for development.

More than 8,000 farmers from six villages in Wuqing district of the northern port city of Tianjin have protested a massive land grab by local government amounting to around 10,000 mu (670 hectares) since 1992.

The local government initially began to build a reservoir in the nearby area, and began to requisition the land from farmers without any compensation. It then converted the reservoir site to highly profitable, large-scale fish-farms after a directive from higher up warned them they had acted illegally.

Government statistics counted around 74,000 protests across the country in 2005, involving more than 3.7 million people, a sharp rise from 58,000 in 2003, and 10,000 in 1994.

A researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences has estimated that 35 percent of “mass incidents” in China are sparked by rural communities fighting for their rights, 30 percent by workers, 15 percent by ordinary citizens, 10 percent from other disputes, five percent as a result of “social disturbances,” and five percent by organized crime.

Those who protest official corruption or seek redress for official wrongdoing often end up in a worse state than if they had done nothing at all.

In Guangdong’s Dongzhou village, more than 1,000 armed police used tear gas to disperse hundreds of villagers who tried again to block the construction of a key pylon near a disputed power plant.

“They used tear gas and scattered the crowd,” a resident of the troubled village near the southern port city of Shanwei told RFA’s Mandarin service.

Earlier, several hundred villagers had converged, beating on cymbals, on the same intersection where police opened fire on a crowd of protesting villagers on Dec. 6, 2005, killing at least three people. The authorities later said police had fired “in alarm” after being attacked by homemade explosives, but villagers deny attacking first.

All economic crises

Academics have calculated that demonstrations involving more than 100 people occurred in 337 cities and 1,955 counties in the first 10 months of 2006, amounting to between 120 and 250 such protests daily in urban areas, and 90 to 160 in villages.

Tian Ren, management professor at Texas’ Drexel University, said the problem of social unrest went hand-in-hand with China’s political system. “From the point of view of social control, all these crises are in fact economic crises. And in the background of China’s economic crises is a political crisis,” he said.

“While the government continues to insist that these are crises of social order, completely separate from the economic and political crisis, it is espousing a view that does not have the participation of the other players.”

U.S.-based social scientist Liu Xiaozhu said China’s central government is well aware of the problem; they are simply unable to deal with it at its root, in the current political climate.

“They have a very sensitive system of gathering information, but the entire political arena is shrouded in fake speech, and befogged by an atmosphere of empty words and automatic clapping,” Liu said.

Reporting banned

“Anyone who tries to speak the truth is immediately attacked. This forces them along the shadowy path of cheating and fakery, which results in the oppression of ordinary citizens.”

Central government officials have admitted publicly on many occasions that corruption and official misbehavior could endanger the Communist Party’s hold on power, and have paid their dues to the problem of corruption with some highly publicized criminal trials of top officials, and a Web site dedicated to fighting corruption.

The site crashed soon after its inception, staggering under the burden of so many complaints. It has since resumed operation.

State media, however, remain tightly controlled in what they can report, and, with a doubling of national security convictions in the past year, reporters are extremely cautious about stepping out on a limb to cover local civil and economic rights issues.

But U.S.-based professor Zhou Zehou of York College said Beijing was well aware of the negative impact that media controls have on social stability.

“If the media had been allowed to report the outbreak of SARS, its negative impact would not have been so great, and the mortality rate would not have been so high,” Zhou said.

An Qi, a former reporter and editor at a number of state-run newspapers in China, is currently studying journalism in France. She described the bans imposed by the propaganda department of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee:

“According to the propaganda department, there are 21 bans: no stories on unemployment, no stories on the upsurge of migrant workers…Radio stations are not allowed to report on workers’ strikes in foreign countries,” An said.

Meanwhile, ordinary people across China doggedly continue protests against what they see as violation of their rights.

Some brave starvation and injury and even risk their lives to get their voices heard.

Beijing-based petitioner Wang Guiying was one of those who tried to present a 10,000-name petition to Party leaders during the 17th Party Congress in October. She was recently detained while begging on Tiananmen Square and beaten by security guards until her leg broke.

Wang is now stuck in a rented room with no money to ease the pain of the broken limb, and no money to buy food.

“They found the break in the bone in her right leg at the hospital,” a Beijing social welfare official told RFA’s Mandarin service. “She was also found to have sustained other injuries. She is unable to move independently. What makes this situation much worse is that they have no money to live on.”

“One the one hand they have no money to buy food, and on the other there is no money to buy medicine. She and her sister are in great difficulty. This is a typical example of where walking the petitioner’s road can get you.”

Original report from Radio Free Asia

Posted in Asia, China, Dongzhou, Guangdong, Human Rights, News, Politics, Press freedom, Report, SE China, Shanwei, Social, World | Comments Off on 2007: A Year of Unrest Across China

Another Massive Violent Conflict over Illegal Official Construction in SE China’s Dongzhou Village

Posted by Author on November 14, 2007

By Gu Qinger, Epoch Times Staff, Nov 11, 2007-Villagers burnt the van that carried the gangster's weapons, mainly wooden sticks and large knives

On November 5, 2007, over 1,000 villagers in Dongzhou Village, Shanwei City in the southern coastal area of China clashed again with more than 500 gangsters who were hired to protect an illegal construction project. The angry villagers burnt a van loaded with wooden sticks and large knives that the gang planned to use as weapons against them.

(photo: Villagers burnt the van that carried the gangster’s weapons, mainly wooden sticks and large knives/ The Epoch Times)

Large-scale conflicts like this have happened many times in Shanwei since the start of the illegal construction of an electric power plant in 2003. Losing their lands and natural resources to the construction and being denied rightful compensation, desperate local residents tried to impede construction as a means to protest the authorities’ treatment. The villagers, however, were met with violent suppression by the authorities. In 2005 armed police opened fire to protesting villagers and killed 13 people who were demanding compensation for the land they lost to the construction.

The power plant in question, located right by the site of the 2005 shooting, will start to operate upon the completion of its last transmission tower, Tower A11. In the past few days, Shanwei authorities held several emergency meetings regarding the construction of A11, demanding to take all measures to complete it quickly. The village Committee hired three local criminal gangs to protect the construction.

On the morning of November 5, the authorities tried to start the construction of A11. Over 400 hired gangsters guarded the construction site against the villagers. Seven vehicles of the gang parked in front of the village police station.

“Around the entire town, village officials and gangsters are constantly driving around to monitor the villagers,” explained one villager. “In addition to the 40 motorcycles patroling around, they’ve also hired two buses to transport the gangsters from Shanwei. Each gangster was paid 200 yuan (US$27).” During the villagers’ morning commute, a rallying cry came over the local radio station. “The gangsters are in town again. This afternoon all villagers please gather at the massacre site.”

A villager named Chen disclosed that over 200 hired gangsters were having lunch inside the police station. In the afternoon, over 1,000 villagers went to the construction site and a conflict erupted between the villagers and the gang.

Some gangsters could be found within the mob of villagers, having been assigned to monitor them. A van belonging to the gangsters was parked on the street in front of the construction site. The vehicle was loaded with 15 bundles of three feet long wooden sticks—a total of 150 sticks—and 20 large knives.”

“The angry villagers burned the van,” recalled one villager. “The villagers confiscated the wooden sticks, but they didn’t take the knives. They left the knives to be burnt with the van. No policeman came to the scene this time.”

A reporter called the local police office. The officer taking the call answered, “I didn’t know. I am only the doorman. I didn’t know what happened.”

The construction of the Shanwei Electric Power Plant began in late 2003 without official approval. The plant illegally occupied over 330 acres of farm land and over 825 acres of beach, destroying over 40 square miles of White Sand Lake, which used to abound with fish and shrimp. The construction has severely damaged the natural resources and ecological system, and local people’s means of living. However, despite relevant legal regulations, the authorities offer each villager only a single payment of 250 yuan ($34) in compensation for their losses. Moreover, the plant authorities have continuously suppressed farmers who appeal for their rightful compensation for the lost lands.

On August 24, 2007, the Shanwei municipal authorities dispatched nearly 1,000 armed officers to suppress villagers’ demonstration. Police used tear gas and water guns to disperse nearly 2,000 villagers. During the conflict eight villagers were injured, with three sustaining seriously injuries. The majority of injured people were elderly. In this conflict indignant villagers burnt down the base of Tower A11.

The power plant is said to have paid over one million yuan ($135,000) to protect the construction of every high voltage electric wire stand. Later the fee was raised to two million yuan ($270,000). When the protect fee was raised again three local criminal gangs received full authority management of the A11 construction.

– Source: the Epochtimes: Another Violent Conflict over Illegal Construction in China

Posted in China, Dongzhou, Economy, Guangdong, Human Rights, Incident, Land Seizure, Law, Life, News, People, Politics, Rural, SE China, Shanwei, Social, World | Comments Off on Another Massive Violent Conflict over Illegal Official Construction in SE China’s Dongzhou Village

2000 Residents and 1000 Armed Police Conflict in South China

Posted by Author on August 27, 2007

By Gu Qing’er, Epoch Times Staff, Aug 26, 2007-

At 9 a.m. on Aug 24, 2007, a large scale conflict broke out between armed police and 2000 residents in Dongzhou Village, Shanwei City, Guangdong Province.

The authority mobilized almost a thousand armed police and public security personnel. They used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the 2000 residents attempting to stop a construction project. The armed police withdrew at 3 p.m. that afternoon.

Three residents were injured and hospitalized. According to a resident, one of the three hospitalized residents is no longer in mortal danger after emergency rescue.

It is said the authorities planned to arrest the participating residents in Dongzhou. The residents call for attention to this matter from people and media outside of China.

Police and Gangsters Were Waiting

The local regime has not compensated those residents who lost their land to the Shanwei Power Plant’s 500kV power cable construction project. Instead of paying the residents, the regime hired hundreds of gangsters at the construction site to stop the protest. Angry residents protested and demanded that the government provide reasonable compensation and tried to stop the power plant from hanging electrical cables.

To ensure that the construction continued, on Aug 24, 2007, the Shanwei authority mobilized armed police to the construction site, along with the gangsters and the construction workers.

A resident at the scene disclosed that because the authority put in more gangsters to watch the construction site, the residents from Dongzhou Village decided to go to the site to ask for an explanation. Almost 2000 residents went. About 1000 armed police, public security personnel, and gangsters attacked the residents and injured many of them. Three of the residents were hospitalized.

A female resident said that most of those who were injured by the tear gas grenades were seniors, three of them were injured badly and five slightly.

“The police used tear gas grenades and water cannons to hurt the protesters. Many of them couldn’t open their eyes. Ever since the power plant was built here, the land compensation issue was never resolved. Now the government hired gangsters to stop and assault residents, hence many people decided to stop the construction.

“Some protesters were arrested and some were beaten. Still now over 20 demolished private properties were not properly compensated. The residents appealed many times to the government but got nothing. The government then hired gangsters to threaten the residents,” said a resident.

Business as Usual at the Police Station

The reporter called the local police bureau in Shanwei City and asked about the incident, an officer replied that there wasn’t anything to tell. The reporters’ later phone calls were never answered.

Since the bloody massacre in Shanwei on Dec 6, 2005, the residents continue to ask the local regime for reasonable compensation and urge the investigation of local officials’ involved in the compensation related corruption. They also demanded that the government arrest and punish the armed police who shot and killed 70 residents on Dec 6, 2005.

– Original report from the Epochtimes : Another Large Conflict in Shanwei City, Guangdong Province

Posted in Business, China, corruption, Dongzhou, Economy, Guangdong, Incident, Land Seizure, Law, News, People, Politics, Protest, Riot, Rural, SE China, Shanwei, Social, World | Comments Off on 2000 Residents and 1000 Armed Police Conflict in South China

China, a Haven for Fake Goods

Posted by Author on August 1, 2007

By Kim Ki-cheon, in-house columnist of Chosun Ilbo, South Korea, Aug.1,2007-

“You’ll see everything here in Shenyang is fake, except for Shenyang itself,” a South Korean executive told a Chosun Ilbo news team in Shenyang, China some time ago. He was only half joking. He showed us a designer watch that would cost millions of won in South Korea. It was a fake, of course, bought for 20 yuan (US$1=CNY7.57). So was his wallet, his belt, his shoes — all fakes. There’s no reason to pay for genuine brand name goods in China, the executive said, because even if you buy the real thing, people just assume it’s fake.

▶In China, “there is nothing that cannot be made, with the exception of man.” Fakes are overflowing the Chinese market, and many of them look fantastic.

Fake eggs recently caused a stir in Guangzhou. The white of the egg was made from industrial powder and alum, the yolk was calcium chloride. The eggshell was made from paraffin wax. If you broke the shell you could easily see that it’s fake because the white and yolk mixed together, but an unbroken one was very difficult to distinguish from a genuine egg. It was almost a work of art. But it was a little puzzling why they put so much effort into it, considering that real eggs don’t cost much.

▶In the province of Anhui in 2004, 13 babies died after they were fed with fake infant formula. Surviving babies had long lasting abnormalities, including skinny bodies and large heads, due to serious malnourishment and side effects.

Last year, nine people died at the hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou after being given intravenous injections laced with diethylene glycol, used in car anti-freeze.

▶Whang Joung-il, minister for political affairs at the Korean Embassy in China, died while being treated at a clinic in downtown Beijing on Sunday.

On Saturday evening Whang ate a sandwich from a nearby shop while working in his office at the embassy. He later experienced diarrhea and severe abdominal pain. The next morning Whang rushed to the clinic, where he suffered shortness of breath and died after receiving an injection of Ringer’s solution.

Chinese police and health authorities are reportedly investigating the solution to see if it was fake.

▶He Qinglian, a Chinese university professor, was forced into exile in the U.S. after she blew the whistle on problems with the Chinese government’s opening and reform policies. China, she once said, is a “republic of con-artists.” She lamented that in her country everybody, including public servants, corporate executives, and merchants, is bent on trying to make money at any cost. She criticized the Chinese people for their materialism. “They believe that if only they can earn enough money — at the risk of their own lives — then their family can live in affluence for generations.”

China has failed to establish a code of business ethics, including personal responsibility and corporate accountability, even though it has been years since it embraced the market economy.

China has the world’s fourth largest economy, but it also carries a heavy burden of shame.

This column was contributed by Chosun Ilbo in-house columnist Kim Ki-cheon.

Original report from Chosun Ilbo

Posted in Anhui, Asia, Beijing, China, Counterfeit, Dongzhou, East China, Economy, Food, Guangdong, Health, Law, Liaoning, Life, Made in China, medical, NE China, News, products, Report, SE China, Shenyang, Social, World | Comments Off on China, a Haven for Fake Goods

Tortured Chinese Dissident Goes on Trial

Posted by Author on July 10, 2007

Reuters via Epochtimes, Jul 09, 2007-

BEIJING—A Chinese dissident, whose wife sought a U.N. investigation into accusations of torture, went on trial on Monday charged with illegal business activity, a human rights watchdog said.

Guo Feixiong, 41, was arrested in September in connection with a book he edited about a political scandal in the northeastern city of Shenyang. He maintains his innocence.

The trial of Guo, also known as Yang Maodong, lasted 3-½ hours but it was unclear when a verdict or sentence would be announced, the Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said in a faxed statement, quoting the lawyer.

Guo’s wife and brother attended the trial in Guangzhou, capital of the southern province of Guangdong, the centre said, but gave no further details.

In June, Guo’s wife, Zhang Qing, asked the New York-based Human Rights in China to forward a letter to Manfred Nowak, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture, in which she accused her husband’s interrogators of repeatedly torturing him to extract a confession.

Fellow activist Hu Jia said in an e-mail that Guo planned to retract his confession on grounds that he was tortured.

His wife and lawyer could not be contacted. A court official, reached by telephone, declined to comment.

Guo had staged a hunger strike for a total of 40 days in protest against torture.

Human Rights in China has said tactics used by police have included shackling Guo’s arms and legs to a bed for weeks at a time and extended periods of sleep deprivation.

Guo experienced the “worst treatment” after he was transferred to a detention centre in Shenyang, where interrogators shackled his hands behind his back, sat him on a stool and applied a high-voltage electric rod to his genitals, Human Rights in China said.

He had been heavily involved in publicising rural protests in Guangdong before he was taken into police custody, providing legal advice to disgruntled farmers.

Guo was held for over three months in 2005 for trying to help residents of Taishi village in Guangdong to vote out their elected chief over allegations of corruption in a land sale.

Prior to his arrest, Guo was briefly detained last year for attempting to organise a hunger strike to protest against his beatings in Guangzhou by thugs believed to have been hired by Taishi village officials.

report from the Epochtimes

Posted in Asia, China, Dongzhou, Guangdong, Guo Feixiong, Human Rights, Law, Lawyer, News, People, Politics, SE China, Social, Speech, Torture, writer | Comments Off on Tortured Chinese Dissident Goes on Trial

China’s Largest “Clean-up” of Protesters and Rights Activists in Years

Posted by Author on March 14, 2007

Human Rights Watch, March 14, 2007-

(Hong Kong, March 14, 2007) – China’s annual session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing has been marred by increasingly violent crackdowns on protesters, petitioners and rights activists across the country and a surge in house arrests of activists, Human Rights Watch said today.

Protests in Hunan and Guangdong provinces were violently suppressed on March 11 and March 12 respectively. In both cases, specially dispatched riot police attacked the crowds, according to eyewitnesses cited in international news reports. In Beijing, hundreds of petitioners have been rounded up over the past two weeks, in the largest “clean-up” operation by the police in recent years. Dozens of rights activists across the country are being held under house arrest or being so closely monitored that their freedom has been significantly impaired.

“China’s leaders are showing that they are afraid of the views and voices of their own people,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “If they were confident that they had popular legitimacy, they would not resort to such heavy-handed tactics.”

In Hunan, thousands of demonstrators protesting alleged corruption and collusion by officials were attacked by local police in Yongzhou on March 10. A student was killed and at least 60 protestors were injured, according to the latest reports. The authorities have sealed off the city, making it impossible for independent observers to report on events there.

In a separate incident on March 11, police broke up a protest by approximately 1,000 villagers in Dongzhou in China’s Southern Guangdong province. The villagers, who have been involved in a long-standing land dispute with local officials, reported that they were attacked by large gangs of thugs wielding rocks and sticks. The police were called to the scene, but failed to take any measures against the attackers. More than 20 people have reportedly been injured. Dongzhou was the site of an earlier clash in December 2005, in which police shot and killed at least three protesters and sealed off the city. Authorities have set up checkpoints at the entry of the township.

Human Rights Watch urged the Chinese government to end its use of thugs to break up demonstrations and to ensure that all security forces of any sort adhere to the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.

“The use of excessive force by Chinese security officials to break up demonstrations is becoming increasingly common,” said Adams. “The government should instruct its forces to follow the most basic professional standards in policing demonstrations.”

Since the NPC started, a number of prominent rights campaigners have reported being placed under house arrest, including HIV/AIDS activist Li Xige, legal campaigner Liu Feiyue, and relatives and supporters of the imprisoned blind rights activist Chen Guangcheng.

Li Xige’s telephone and internet access were cut off after she issued a public appeal on March 12 to address the situation of HIV/AIDS and blood disease patients in Henan. She is now prohibited from leaving her home. Liu Feiyue, a legal advocate from Hubei, was detained for three days in connection with his work on the behalf of forcibly evicted villagers from Chenggang village, near the city of Suizhou, and is now under house arrest. Relatives and supporters of Chen Guangcheng, who was jailed for four years and three months in December 2006 under trumped-up charges of “damaging public property and gathering people to block traffic,”have reported an increase in harassment and threats from local authorities during the NPC.

Dissidents and independent writers in Beijing have also been subject to an array of restrictive measures during the past two weeks, including warnings from the police not to contact foreign journalists or issue public appeals, suspension of telephone and internet services, increased police surveillance, and house arrest.

“House arrest is becoming the weapon of choice for the authorities in silencing and repressing civil rights activists,” said Adams. “It is imposed at the entire discretion of the police and takes place outside of any legal procedure – you can’t get more arbitrary than that.”

Human Rights Watch said that these latest attacks on freedom of expression and assembly come during an explosion of social unrest in recent years. Problems such as corruption, illegal-land seizures, forced evictions, the forced relocation of entire communities in the name of economic development and modernization, unchecked pollution, and the collapse of the welfare state have become burning social issues. According to official Chinese government statistics, an average of 200 protests take place every day – quadruple the number a decade ago.

Tens of thousands of people travel to the capital every year to lodge petitions with the central authorities in the hope of redressing local abuses. This year, police in Beijing conducted several raids on places where petitioners sleep and meet to keep them from being visible during the NPC or to intercept them when they tried to approach delegates to the NPC. More than 700 petitioners have been detained, many of them forcibly sent back to their home provinces.

The annual meeting of the NPC, when hundreds of provincial delegates gather in Beijing for two weeks, is considered by the authorities as a particularly sensitive time when incidents such as demonstrations or public appeals must be prevented. This year’s NPC was widely seen as a grand rehearsal in public order tactics for two even more important upcoming events: the Communist Party’s 17th Congress in October 2007 and the Olympics Games in 2008.

“If this is how the government is going to deal with dissents before and during the Olympics, it will backfire spectacularly,” said Adams. “The heavy-handed measures we have witnessed in recent weeks are completely out of line with the expected behavior of an Olympic host. They show China as a repressive police state instead of the modern country its leaders hope to portray.”

Martial Law Imposed In China’s Rioted City Yongzhou, the Epochtimes, Mar 14, 2007
Unrest Continues With Protests, Riot in South China Village, Radio Free Asia, 2007.03.13
China MPs Exercise Rubber Stamp, BBC News, 13 March 2007

Posted in AIDS, Artists, Beijing, Central China, China, City resident, Dissident, Dongzhou, Guangdong, Health, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Politics, Protest, Riot, Rural, SE China, Social, Speech | Comments Off on China’s Largest “Clean-up” of Protesters and Rights Activists in Years

Unrest Continues With Protests, Riot in South China Village

Posted by Author on March 14, 2007

Radio Free Asia, 2007.03.13-

HONG KONG—Protests are flaring over the sale of land for power station projects in Dongzhou village, in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, with a demonstration following weekend clashes.

As many as 2,000 Dongzhou villagers fought back after being set upon by government-hired thugs Sunday, burning vehicles amid another wave of protests against a coal-fired power station on land they used to farm, according to witnesses.

“Today villagers from all five different areas came out to demonstrate,” a local resident told RFA’s Mandarin service Monday.

“There were a lot of people. Quite a bit more than on Dec. 6, 2005; maybe more than 1,000 took part in the protest itself,” he said.

Banners and gongs

“There were also a lot of bystanders. The protesters were calling on the Party in Beijing to sort out this problem. They had banners and were beating gongs. They marched down to the gates of the power station,” the villager told reporter Ding Xiao.

But they found the power station management unwilling to talk to them, and were met instead by large numbers of riot police. Realizing the situation, the villagers hung their banners at the gate and dispersed peacefully around lunchtime.

Another villager said: “No one came out to talk to us. There were armed police at the gates with riot shields—a few dozen of them. Maybe a squadron of them.”

On Sunday, residents of Shigu village staged a sit-in in a bid to prevent the power station from running water pipes across it, because they hadn’t been consulted or compensated.

Soon after, residents said, around 100 thugs hired by the government arrived on the scene and attacked the villagers, injuring more than 20 of them. Local residents poured in from nearby districts to help.

“Yesterday triad mobsters were sent in to clear the water conduit,” the second villager said. “The local residents wouldn’t let them, because they had received no compensation. There were more than 100 mobsters, and there were women and elderly people among the protesters, several dozen.”

“The mobsters set upon the protesters with wooden clubs and beat them, and they surrounded the village so no one could get in or out,” he said.

“More than 20 villagers were injured, and two or three mobsters too. The villagers started to fight back after they were attacked by the thugs. The officials didn’t arrive until the mobsters started getting hurt, and they brought the police with them.”

After that, the enraged villages burned several vehicles belonging to the contractors.

The first villager said: “There was nowhere else for their anger to vent itself. They set fire to a mechanical digger, a tow-truck, and an old tractor. There were at least 2,000 people there then.”

Another witness told RFA’s Cantonese service: “Villagers came from all six villagers in the area to the coal-fired power plant to confront them. Eventually a few vehicles, including a mechanical digger, were destroyed. Construction work can’t continue today because their equipment is broken,” he said.

Calls to the Dongzhou police station, and to the Honghaiwan Development Zone office during business hours went unanswered Monday.

Popular unrest has simmered in Dongzhou since the fatal shootings of Dec. 6, 2005, when police opened fire on protesters in the village.

Local residents say the commanding officer and local officials had still not been held responsible for the deaths, which the authorities said were caused by police officers shooting ‘in alarm’ after being attacked by a mob with homemade explosives.

Villagers said they had received only 150 yuan (U.S.$19) annually per person in compensation for land taken to develop coal-fired and wind power plants in the Honghaiwan Development Zone so far.

The second Dongzhou villager said: “They said they could only give us 150 yuan each. They didn’t say anything else. We had to sign. I said it was unclear where this money came from, so I refused to sign. I didn’t take the money.”

Villagers said equipment from the coal-fired station was continuing to encroach on their land with the installation of pylons to carry electricity away from the plant, and the construction of new water inlets.

Since the shootings of December 2005, local officials had taken to appearing less in public, preferring to get gangs of thugs stationed outside the village to attack local residents on their behalf, residents say.

Another villager said: “Nothing has been resolved. Now we have trouble from the mobsters. We have to set a sentry watch at nighttime, which is exhausting.”

Original reporting in Mandarin by Ding Xiao and in Cantonese by Lee from Radio Free Asia

Posted in China, corruption, Dongzhou, Economy, Guangdong, Incident, Land Seizure, Law, News, People, Politics, Protest, Riot, Rural, SE China, Social | Comments Off on Unrest Continues With Protests, Riot in South China Village

Speech: The Single Most Important Thing About China

Posted by Author on January 15, 2007

from The Single Most Important Thing You Need To Know About China, A speech by Don Feder to The Awakening Conference, January 7, 2007 — The Cloister. Sea Island, Georgia

By Don Feder, Human Events, DC, USA, 01-11-07-



But neither China’s booming economy nor its alarming military growth is the root of the problem. In any discussion of China, the place to start is with an understanding of the reality of political power on the Mainland.

The People’s Republic of China remains what it was at its inception in 1949, at the end of the civil war — a ruthless, totalitarian state. As the name implies, a totalitarian regime attempts to exert near- absolute control over the lives of its subjects.

China is controlled by the Communist Party. Ostensibly, political power resides in the 3,000-member National People’s Congress. But the Congress is a rubber stamp. In reality, power is exercised by a 9-member standing committee of the CCP politburo. In other words, 9 individuals decide the fate of 1.2 billion people.

The New York Times — never known for hard-line foreign-policy positions — says of China’s current leader, Hu Jintao, that he “governs sternly and secretly, almost never grants interviews, and has overseen an unrelenting crackdown on journalists, lawyers, and religious leaders who defy one-party rule.”

  • In its latest report, Freedom House observes, “The Chinese government continued to restrict political rights and repress critics of the regime in 2005. Restrictions on communications became more severe.” Also, Freedom House notes, “The Chinese state closely monitors political activity and uses vaguely worded national security regulations to justify detainment or imprisonment of those who are politically active without party approval.”
  • In 2003, Amnesty International reported that in Chinese prisons, “Torture and ill treatment remained widespread … . Common methods included kicking, beating, electric shocks, suspension by the arms, shackling in painful positions, and sleep and food deprivation. Women in detention were vulnerable to rape and sexual abuse.”
  • In China, there are over 1,000 “re-education-through-labor” camps scattered about the country.
  • There are credible reports of organ harvesting from executed prisoners.
  • In the People’s Republic, no fewer than 65 offenses carry the death penalty.
  • China’s one-child-per-family policy has led to forced abortions, infanticide and a booming sex industry.
  • Former CIA Director James Woolsey describes China as “the worst of the worst” dictatorships.

The communist regime has a morbid fear of opposition to its authority and the independent institutions from which such opposition could arise.

In China, all media are state-owned. There are no independent labor unions. The judiciary is a handmaiden of the regime. In politically sensitive cases, verdicts are directed by the Party. Religions not controlled by the regime are harassed or suppressed — witness the home-church movement and the Falun Gong.

Beijing regularly blocks websites it deems subversive. In 2005, the government shut down over a quarter of the nation’s 573,755 websites.

The same mentality that sent tanks rolling over demonstrators in Tiananmen Square 18 years ago (killing more than 3,000) continues to guide policy toward dissent.

According to Beijing, there were over 87,000 incidents which it terms “public order disturbances” in 2005, up 6.6% from the previous year. These range from scuffles with police to mass protests over land confiscation.

  • In a demonstration last July, in a suburb of Hangzhou, riot police used electric batons to break-up a crowd of 3,000 Christians protesting the demolition of a home church.
  • Last January, as many as 10,000 riot police were deployed in the village of Panlong in Guagdong province to counter a protest over the confiscation of land for a factory. At least 60 villagers were wounded and a 13-year-old girl was killed.
  • In December, 2005 as many as 30 were killed in the village of Donzhou, when security forces fired into a crowd protesting the decision to locate a coal-fired power plant in their midst.
  • In China, you can go to jail for taking part in a demonstration, for applying for a permit to hold a demonstration, for reporting on a demonstration, for posting information about a demonstration on the Internet and — if you’re an attorney — for representing someone arrested at a demonstration.
  • Last year, a former garment worker at a plant in Shandong province was sentenced to 5 years in prison for trying to collect wages owed to him by a bankrupt state company. You can imagine the punishment for those who really get out of line.

Now, multiply all of this by hundreds of thousands and you begin to have an idea of the status of human rights in the People Republic.

The shimmering skyscrapers of Shanghai, the Western hotels in Beijing and the myriad products rolling off Chinese assembly lines to eventually find their way into American homes often obscure this grim reality.

In 1949, political power was seized with a gun. (Was it not Mao who said power comes from the barrel of a gun?) In China today, political power is literally maintained at gun-point.

America has a government. Britain has a government. Taiwan has a government. China has a regime. The only difference between the Chinese Communist Party and the Mafia is that the former is more successful at what it does, while the latter lacks an ideological rationale for its crimes.

Ergo, totalitarianism must be the starting point in any discussion of China. This is so because totalitarian regimes are inherently unstable. Totalitarian regimes are paranoid. Totalitarian regimes are expansionist. And totalitarian regimes require external enemies. (Extract)

( Look at the whole speech here; About Don Feder )

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China admits social unrest threatens party’s iron grip

Posted by Author on December 9, 2006

Times Online, UK,  December 09, 2006-

Riots in China are threatening the Communist Party’s ability to rule, according to a policy document that seeks answers to the country’s social unrest.

It is the first time that a partywide paper has asked how best to deal with rising public discontent and underscores the seriousness of the problem.


Demonstrations have been on the rise for several years as those who have lost out because of market reforms have taken to the streets to voice their discontent. Last year official figures showed that the number of protests, or “mass incidents”, averaged one every six minutes. In 2004, officials reported 74,000 mass incidents in China, up from 10,000 in 1994, with the number of participants rising to 3.8 million from 730,000.

A decision by the party to find ways to actively prevent such mass incidents — made at its annual plenary session in October — marked the first time a document sent out to party members had referred to how to deal with the problem, the official Xinhua news agency said yesterday.

In a rare commentary on the sensitive topic, the state-run Xinhua news agency said: “The huge number and broad scope of mass incidents has become the most outstanding problem that seriously impacts social stability.”

While the Ministry of Public Security said last month that such incidents had fallen by 22.1 per cent in the first nine months of the year, to 17,900, the party document emphasised that this was no time for complacency.

Resentment over the loss of farmland, corruption, worsening pollution in the vast countryside, arbitrary evictions by property developers and lay-offs by state enterprises in cities have galvanised the Chinese to take sometimes drastic action.

The commentary noted that some economic disputes had been politicised, while some had become increasingly violent and confrontational. Even a small mishandling of a protest could lead to bloodshed.

A major reason for the unrest was the progress of reform that has created a widening wealth gap between better-educated, entrepreneurial and white-collar urban residents, and farmers, migrant workers and the elderly, who find it increasingly difficult to cope with a swiftly changing society.

In an unusually direct warning of the consequences of failing to tackle the grievances of China’s have-nots, the commentary said: “Whether we can actively prevent and properly deal with mass incidents is a significant test of the party’s ability to govern. The Communist Party — particularly local officials — must do its utmost to help laid-off workers, landless farmers, displaced migrants, peasant workers and the poverty-stricken populations of towns and villages.”

But there was a warning to the Chinese lawyers and human rights activists who have been harassed, beaten up or detained for representing those taking part in protests and riots. Xinhua said: “Hostile forces and elements inside and outside China have tried whatever they can to intervene in and take advantage of the mass incidents in an attempt to instigate and create turbulence.”

Li Baiguang, a lawyer who has taken up some cases of grievances, said that the situation for the party was critical. He told The Times: “These are people who have nothing . . . they will stop at nothing.”

He blamed local officials who implement policies aimed at boosting the local economy and improving their own image at the expense of the poor, because they knew that the system ensured they would move to a new job within three to five years: “They simply leave the mess for the next man to sort out.”

Xinhua also cautioned that local officials should exercise force and deploy the police with great prudence, saying that improper use of force could serve to intensify conflicts. The Government has admitted that three villagers died after police opened fire on demonstrators in Dongzhou, in the southern Guangdong province, last December during a violent stand-off over construction of a power station. A senior police official was dismissed.

Posted in China, Communist Party, Dongzhou, Guangdong, Human Rights, Law, News, Politics, Protest, Report, Riot, Rural, SE China, Social | Comments Off on China admits social unrest threatens party’s iron grip

China: News Blackout in Dongzhou as Clampdown Continues

Posted by Author on November 22, 2006

Radio fre Asia, 2006.11.19-

HONG KONG—Authorities in the southern Chinese port city of Shanwei have continued their clampdown on the village of Dongzhou, enforcing a news blackout over the area following a raid which released eight government hostages, villagers said.

“The villagers are still so scared,” one resident told RFA’s Cantonese service. “Four trucks full of police are stationed along the road in order to prevent any reporters coming into the village. So it is in a mess.”

He also said four armoured vehicles were guarding each entrance to the village.

Another villager said an American reporter had hidden at his house and asked the U.S. Embassy in Beijing for help. He said: “A U.S. reporter came here. He was afraid of going out and hid here. Then, I don’t know why, but he went out.”

Villagers ‘scared’

An Associated Press report said a photographer from the New York Times was beaten by police in Dongzhou.

The villager added: “The officials have got all our land across the whole area. We don’t even have anything to eat. They put so much pressure on us, how can we maintain a life?”

Police stormed a small temple in Dongzhou in a pre-dawn raid Saturday that freed eight local officials held hostage for more than a week by residents angered by the detention of a village activist.

“Many police officers showed up with dogs and surrounded the village. We were scared,” a local woman told RFA’s Mandarin service. Witnesses said police with dogs stormed the temple at 3 a.m. on Nov. 18.

“They didn’t release Chen Qian,” she said, referring to the villager detained Nov. 9 while he hung anti-corruption posters in the village. “Instead, they detained three more.”

Another villager, surnamed Huang, also told RFA’s Mandarin service that a foreign reporter, “probably an American,” appeared in the village Saturday.

U.S. reporter ‘disappeared’

Police were waiting for the reporter in the taxi he had hired, possibly in hope of detaining him. “But the reporter disappeared and no one knows his whereabouts now,” Huang said.

A local police officer, contacted by phone, said he knew nothing about a foreign reporter but added that all reporting must be conducted in compliance with Chinese laws.

According to the Information Center for Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China, the two detained villagers were released later Saturday, saying police had beaten them. No comment from police was immediately available.

Between 200 and 300 police, some in riot gear, remained on guard at major roads around the village on Sunday, witnesses said.

Huang said police were stopping and searching vehicles at checkpoints throughout the village.

On Friday, villagers told RFA’s Mandarin and Cantonese services that the village was largely shuttered with up to 1,000 armed police on guard. Schools, shops, and offices were mostly closed, they said, describing the area as extremely tense.

Less than a year ago in the same village, paramilitary forces shot and killed at least three people protesting what they said was inadequate compensation for land used to build a power station.

Many residents declined to be interviewed by telephone on Friday, and Internet connections remained cut off. “All Internet connection is dead. We cannot get online from home. It started yesterday,” a male villager said on condition of anonymity. (more from Radio fre Asia)

China police free hostages in standoff: residents, Reuters,  Nov.18, 2006

Posted in China, Dongzhou, Guangdong, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Politics, Protest, Rural, SE China, Social | Comments Off on China: News Blackout in Dongzhou as Clampdown Continues

China police free hostages in standoff: residents

Posted by Author on November 18, 2006

By Chris Buckley, Reuters/Washington Post, November 18, 2006-

BEIJING (Reuters) – A hostage standoff in a Chinese village that suffered a bloody crackdown last year ended in the early hours of Saturday when police freed eight officials held by angry villagers for over a week, several residents said.

Five residents of Dongzhou in far southern China’s Guangdong province told Reuters that police stormed a small temple where some villagers had locked the officials to demand the release of a detained local activist.

“They came in after midnight and broke through the locked gate,” said one young man who asked not to be identified. “There are still many police around, so we don’t know what will happen next.”

He said he did not know if there was any violence or arrests at the time of the release.

Major elements of Dongzhou’s latest drama remained murky, with many residents professing ignorance or unwilling to speak, unsure if the kidnapped officials were gone.

The kidnappers were demanding the release of a local resident detained on November 9 after having hung anti-corruption slogans outside his house, said villagers. The standoff had escalated as police and anti-riot troops gathered on the edge of the settlement.

On Saturday, police and armed anti-riot troops were still gathered on the edge of Dongzhou, but their numbers were unclear, said residents. “I saw 20, maybe 30, troop trucks,” said one villager.

Dongzhou gained notoriety in December 2005 after police and troops fired on locals in a violent standoff over construction of a coal-fired power station. Residents said they had received inadequate compensation for land lost to the station and other developments around their small settlement near the coast.

One villager said residents remained angry at their loss of land and more confrontation was not out of the question. “The government took out land and said the farmers were paid. But we weren’t. How can we accept that?”

The shootings galvanized domestic and international concern about rising discontent in China’s countryside after a string of violent confrontations.

Reports at the time said dozens of protesters and bystanders might have died, but the government said only three were killed — a number backed by some residents, including relatives of the dead.

The trouble in Dongzhou is just the latest of thousands of protests and confrontations that the government says erupt across China every year, even as the Communist Party leadership seeks to ease strains over corruption, land grabs and inequality.

The number of protests and riots throughout the country fell by over a fifth in the first nine months of 2006, a senior police official said this month. Police dealt with 17,900 “mass incidents” from January to September — a fall of 22.1 percent on the same period in 2005.

Shops and businesses in the small settlement surrounded by paddy fields were closed on Friday at the behest of angry locals, but reopened on Saturday, said a shopkeeper.

Dongzhou police and officials in the nearby city of Shanwei, the local administrative seat, did not answer phone calls on Saturday.

Posted in China, Dongzhou, Economy, Guangdong, Human Rights, Land Seizure, Law, News, People, Police, Politics, Protest, Rural, SE China, Social | Comments Off on China police free hostages in standoff: residents

Urgent In Dongzhou: Police move in, villagers hiding, Internet cafes shut down

Posted by Author on November 17, 2006

Radio Free Asia (RFA), 2006.11.16-

HONG KONG—Hundreds of police have moved into Dongzhou village near the southern Chinese port of Shanwei after a six-day standoff in which villagers detained eight officials to demand the release of a local activist, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports.

“They began moving in yesterday afternoon and positioned themselves along the highway. The number grew larger and larger today,” one villager told RFA’s Mandarin service Thursday. “Fire engines are on standby.”

Activist held, villagers outraged

On Nov. 9, Dongzhou police detained villager Chen Qian, described by neighbors as in his fifties and busy hanging anti-corruption banners in the village when he was taken into custody.

Hundreds of villagers went to the neighborhood committee the following day to demand his release and took eight village cadres hostage when they refused, villager said.

“We told them that we would release the eight of them in exchange for one of us. But the authorities rejected our demand. We are keeping the eight cadres in the village. They are being fed,” another villager said in an interview.

Another resident told RFA’s Cantonese service there had been a large influx of police around midday Thursday. “One of our representatives was detained so we asked for him to be released but to no avail,” she said. “So we took hostage eight low-level government officials.”

“Now there are a large number of police outside and we daren’t go out,” she added.

Local authorities have indicated that Chen Qian was to be indicted, but the charges against him are unknown.

A local Public Security Bureau official declined to comment in detail.

“I cannot comment on the situation,” the official said, contacted by telephone. Asked if the armed police had orders to use force to end the situation, he said: “The leaders are in discussions on the situation. I am not clear on the details.”

Internet cafes ordered to close

Another villager said Internet cafes in and around Dongzhou, which is in the eastern part of Guangdong province, had been ordered shut by local authorities.

“They were all shut down. They did not want the local news to get out. Internet café owners received an order yesterday afternoon. They were told not to open for business on Thursday,” the villager said.

Another villager, surnamed Lin, said local residents feared worse bloodshed than on Dec. 6, 2005. In that incident, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency, police opened fire “in alarm” on protesters who attacked them with home-made explosives, killing at least three people.

But the villagers, who were protesting what they said was inadequate compensation for land used to build a power station, said police fired first on an unarmed crowd, and that the death toll was higher than official reports admitted

“We are fearful that it will end in a worse way than the incident last year. There are public security and armed police. We are all hiding in our houses,” Lin said.

– Original from: Hundreds of Police Sent to South China Hostage VillageRadio Free Asia (RFA), 2006.11.16

Posted in China, Dongzhou, Guangdong, Internet, Law, Life, News, Official, People, Police, Politics, Protest, Rural, SE China, Social | Comments Off on Urgent In Dongzhou: Police move in, villagers hiding, Internet cafes shut down

Dozens Hurt in Guangdong Land Dispute Clashes: Villagers

Posted by Author on October 23, 2006

Radio Free Asia, 2006.10.18-

HONG KONG—Two people are critically ill and dozens of others are injured following clashes between villagers and police in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, local residents said.

Around 900 residents of Xingtan township arrived in the provincial capital of Guangdong at about 10:30 a.m. Sunday by the busload to stage a protest outside the offices of the provincial government.

They planned to spend the night in adjacent streets and stage a sit-in at provincial government headquarters Monday in protest against alleged corruption surrounding the sale of their land by local officials.

The same evening, the authorities mobilized around 2,000 police officers and riot police with orders to force the villagers back onto their buses and back to their hometown.

“That evening, the police beat up anyone staging a protest, whether they were male or female, young or old,” a villager surnamed Leung told RFA’s Cantonese service Tuesday.

Between 10 and 20 villagers were injured that night, including one villager who had a broken foot, and another who had something stuck in both eyes and was probably blinded, he said.

Two taken to hospital

At least two people had very serious injuries and had already been transferred from Shunde Municipal Hospital to an intensive care unit in the Guangdong Provincial Hospital, Leung added.

“So far at least 10 people have been detained including my older brother and two village-level representatives of the local People’s Congress,” according to another villager, surnamed Luo.

Angry villagers had continued the protest in their hometown, gathering outside local government offices and even attacking passing vehicles.

“Some people have gone home to get some rest, but they’ll be back when they’ve built up their strength again,” Luo said. “They are planning to continue their sit-in outside the township government on Wednesday until the authorities release the people they’ve detained.”

Other residents said some villagers had boarded a train direct from Guangzhou to Beijing and presented a petition to authorities in the capital Tuesday. But officials in the capital were apathetic and were unlikely to do anything to help, they said.

Some villagers were planning a signature campaign in the township in the days to come and would explore other avenues to make their views heard, they added.

Continuing campaign

An officer who answered the phone at the Xingtan township police station declined to comment when contacted by RFA. “I don’t know about this,” he said. “We don’t know anything about it.”

The clashes coincided with a visit to the Guangzhou Trade Fair by Chinese premier Wen Jiabao at the weekend. Last month, Wen warned Communist Party rank and file that “illegal” seizures of land in rural areas could lead to instability.

“It is sparking mass incidents in the countryside,” Wen was quoted as saying in an official Xinhua news agency story dated Sept. 1. “We absolutely cannot commit a historic error over land problems.”

Clashes between farming communities and police are becoming more and more widespread as local residents are increasingly challenging lucrative property deals involving communal land by local officials.

Posted in China, corruption, Dongzhou, Economy, Guangdong, Land Seizure, Law, Life, News, Official, People, Police, Politics, Protest, Rural, Social | Comments Off on Dozens Hurt in Guangdong Land Dispute Clashes: Villagers

Dongzhou Villagers Gather To Demand That The Criminals Be Punished

Posted by Author on October 4, 2006, 10/01/2006-

On the morning of October 1, 2006, thousands of villagers from Dongzhou, Shanwei City, Guangdong Province gathered at Dongzhou Foyegong Square to demand that the authorities return their land, take care of their future livelihood, investigate corrupt officials, and punish the criminals who fired at villagers during the December 6 incident last year.

On December 6, 2005, armed police had fired at the villagers who demanded that the authorities compensate them for the land that the local government confiscated for a hydroelectric development. The police action resulted in at least three deaths. According to local villagers, this action is one of most united since the bloody incident occurred. All of the business shops in Dongzhou Town closed so that everyone could participate in the gathering. 

Posted in China, Dongzhou, Family, Guangdong, Law, military, News, People, Politics, Protest, Rural, Social | Comments Off on Dongzhou Villagers Gather To Demand That The Criminals Be Punished

China’s hidden unrest (Part 1)

Posted by Author on July 18, 2006

Across rural China, tens of thousands of protests are waged against land seizures and corruption. Few people ever hear about them.

by Christin Jones,

BEIJING-The word from the village of Dongzhou was growing dire last December 6. Security officers were clashing with residents over the local government’s seizure of land for a power plant. Official force, villagers said, was escalating.

“I called them every hour, and it kept getting worse. First it was tear gas, then there was shooting, then two dead, then more,” said Ding Xiao, the 23-year-old Hong Kong-based reporter who broke news of the violent crackdown for U.S. broadcaster Radio Free Asia. The crack of gunfire could be heard in tapes of her phone calls to residents of the village near Shanwei, in southern China’s Guangdong province. “They were asking for help. They said, ’Please call the central government to ask for help. We have called, but there was no response.’”

Following Ding’s report, the crackdown got wide attention outside of China. But print and broadcast media on the mainland were instructed to carry only a belated official account defending the use of force against the protesters. The death toll is still unknown; the government reported that three were killed, but human rights organizations have said the actual number may be much higher. Dongzhou villagers have been under tight surveillance since December and have been warned to keep silent on threat of punishment.

This policy of enforced silence has come to define the central government’s approach to widespread rural unrest, China’s most salient domestic issue. Fearing that news of land disputes and other civil discontent could fuel a united threat to its authority, the Communist Party government has undertaken one of the biggest media crackdowns since the aftermath of the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy demonstrations. (To be cont’d…)

Part: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

original report from 

– Report
: ” Rural Revolt – Rising Unrest in China”, by VOA
– Book to read: A Survey of Chinese Peasants

Posted in China, Dongzhou, Economy, Guangdong, Land Seizure, Law, Media, People, Politics, Rural, SE China, Social, Special report, Speech | Comments Off on China’s hidden unrest (Part 1)