Wed Jul 27,
2005 7:11 AM ET
clash with police officers in Qianjin in China's northern
region of Inner Mongolia July 27, 2005. About 2,000
disgruntled farmers have clashed with hundreds of policemen
in the region, in a land dispute that injured dozens with
one government official calling the situation 'anarchy'.
Photo by Stringer/China/Reuters
(Reuters) - About 2,000 disgruntled farmers have clashed with
hundreds of policemen in China's northern region of Inner
Mongolia in a land dispute that injured dozens with one
government official calling the situation “anarchy.”
21 clash in Qianjin village, a part of Tongliao city about 450
miles northeast of Beijing, was one of a growing number of
protests across China, most of which go unreported in the
tightly controlled state media.
caught by surprise. Police punched and kicked villagers even as
they lay on the ground,” one farmer said requesting anonymity.
ready to risk everything. If one government official comes,
we’ll take on one. If several come, we'll fight it out with
several,” the farmer told Reuters.
reached by telephone declined to comment.
Guowu, chief of Ke'erqin district in which Qianjin is located,
insisted that police did not assault villagers.
were under orders not to retaliate when hit or verbally abused
and restrained themselves,” Han said in a telephone interview.
down the clash, saying villagers had pelted police with chunks
of hard clay, breaking the nose of one officer, smashing the
window of a police car and breaking a video camera.
farmers had refused to turn over their land and had blocked
construction of the highway for two months, he said.
entire village is in a state of anarchy,” Han said.
dismissed accusations by farmers that the government had hired
thugs to break into villagers’ homes in the middle of the night
and assault them. He also denied corruption allegations.
trust the party and the government,” Han pleaded.
editorial, the Thursday edition of the People’s Daily, the
mouthpiece of the Communist Party, will call for perceived
threats to stability to be crushed.
“Destabilizing factors must be resolved at the grassroots and
nipped in the bud,” the Xinhua news agency quoted the editorial
as saying. Land disputes, corruption, abuse of power and a
widening gap between rich and poor were among the reasons
leading to the number of protests shooting up to 74,000 last
year from just 10,000 in 1994, a Hong Kong newspaper reported
of people involved in those demonstrations jumped to 3.76
million in 2004 from 730,000 a decade earlier, the
Beijing-funded Ta Kung Pao quoted Public Security Minister Zhou
Yongkang as telling parliament’s top advisory body.
Thursday’s clash lasted about six hours, a second farmer said,
adding that policemen, some of them armed, were eventually
outnumbered and fled after other villagers rushed to the rescue.
injured villagers were taken to nearby hospitals, the farmers
seized bulldozers and other construction equipment intended for
use in building a highway across the farmers' land, which had
been reclaimed by the government, the second said.
farmers in the northern province of Hebei won a battle over land
rights after months of protests culminated in a violent clash,
one of the bloodiest in a wave of rural riots.
some 300 toughs with rifles, clubs and sharpened pipes descended
on Shengyou village in Hebei and clashed with the farmers, who
were angry over a lack of compensation and staged a sit-in on
land slated for a new lime plant.
villagers were killed and scores injured. The clash highlighted
growing disputes over land rights in China, where rapid
development is encroaching on rural property and where the
government places an overriding emphasis on social stability.
arrested 31 people and detained another 131. Those arrested
included the Communist Party chief of nearby Dingzhou city, who
was sacked after a Beijing newspaper reported the riot.
(Additional reporting by Vivi Lin and Guo Shipeng)