Daily Archives: 11 December 2005

China’s Latest Uprising: Angry Villagers, Pirate Gangs, or Both?

Today’s Tacoma News Tribune carries an earlier Washington Post report on the outbreak of violence in coastal Guangdong northeast of Hong Kong.

DONGZHOU, China – Paramilitary police and anti-riot units have opened fire with pistols and automatic rifles for the past two nights on rioting farmers and fishermen who have attacked them with gas bombs and explosive charges, according to residents of this small coastal village.

The sustained volleys of gunfire, unprecedented in a wave of peasant uprisings over the past two years in China, have killed between 10 and 20 villagers and injured more, residents said…. As far as is known, previous riots have all been put down with heavy use of truncheons and tear gas, but without firearms.

This time, according to a villager who heard and saw what happened, police responded to the launching of explosives by repeatedly firing “very rapid bursts of gunfire” over a period of several hours Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Some villagers reported seeing People’s Armed Police carrying AK-47 assault rifles, one of the Chinese military’s standard-issue weapons. There were no reports of violence Thursday night.

The villagers who rose up against land confiscations in Dongzhou, a community of 10,000 residents 14 miles southeast of Shanwei city, in Guangdong province near Hong Kong, also opened a new chapter – the use of the homemade bottle bombs and explosive charges that local fishermen normally use to stun fish.

Belmont Club has compiled a range of background information about economic projects in Shanwei City, as well as an intriguing story in the People’s Daily on 29 January 2000 of the arrest and execution there of 13 pirates, including an Indonesian national.

The executions of Weng Siliang, Indonesian citizen Soni Wee and the other 11 who committed the crimes on China’s territorial waters in the South China Sea were enforced in Shanwei City of Guangdong.

The gang started planning the robbery in August of 1998 with illegal purchase of guns and buying ships. On November 16, they intercepted the Cheung Son cargo ship from Hong Kong by masquerading as Chinese police.

They robbed the ship and killed all of the 23 seamen. Later they sold the contraband for 300,000 US dollars. They also stole a total of 970,00[0] yuan in cash.

Wen and Soni Wee also were involved in the pirating of two foreign ships, and Wee was found with 156 grams of narcotics when arrested, according to court hearings.

UPDATE, 18 December – Yesterday’s Washington Post has a fascinating story about how Chinese bloggers are evading censors by discussing this event in the guise of a similar event in 1926.

HONG KONG, Dec. 16 — At first glance, it looked like a spirited online discussion about an essay written nearly 80 years ago by modern China’s greatest author. But then again, the exchange on a popular Chinese bulletin board site seemed a bit emotional, given the subject.

“In Memory of Ms. Liu Hezhen,” which Lu Xun wrote in 1926 after warlord forces opened fire on protesters in Beijing and killed one of his students, is a classic of Chinese literature. But why did thousands of people read or post notes in an online forum devoted to the essay last week?

A close look suggests an answer that China’s governing Communist Party might find disturbing: They were using Lu’s essay about the 1926 massacre as a pretext to discuss a more current and politically sensitive event — the Dec. 6 police shooting of rural protesters in the southern town of Dongzhou in Guangdong province.

via Crooked Timber

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