Common Store.

More on the protest and demonstration in Dongzhou,China.

Today read on the New York Times:

Chinese Pressing to Keep Village Silent on Clash

If you have the time,I recommend you read the whole article,though I will have some snaps below:

Residents of Dongzhou, a small town now cordoned off by heavy police roadblocks and patrols, said in scores of interviews on the telephone and with visitors that they had endured beatings, bribes and threats at the hands of security forces in the week and a half after their protest against the construction of a power plant was violently put down. Others said that the corpses of the dead had been withheld, apparently because they were so riddled with bullets that they would contradict the government’s version of events. And residents have been warned that if they must explain the deaths of loved ones – many of whom were shot dead during a tense standoff with the police in which fireworks, blasting caps and crude gasoline bombs were thrown by the villagers – they should simply say their relatives were blown up by their own explosives.

“Local officials are talking to families that had relatives killed in the incident, telling them that if they tell higher officials and outsiders that they died by accident, by explosives, while confronting the police, they must make it sound convincing,” said one resident of the besieged town in an interview. “If the family members speak this way they are being promised 50,000 yuan ($6,193), and if not, they will be beaten and get nothing out of it.”

Some official response
The official New China News Agency has said that only three people were killed and eight others injured when security forces shot at protesters, so the existence of more bodies riddled with bullets could destroy the official version of events and provide proof of tremendous force against a lightly armed, if restive, crowd.
Another resident reported that telephones in the area had been blocked from making calls to Hong Kong, which is less than 125 miles to the south, shares a similar dialect and has news media that can freely report on the incident, unlike the mainland Chinese media, which have been all but silent about it.

The Chinese government has also said little about the violence in Dongzhou. After publishing its report in the official New China New Agency, which saw very limited circulation in the country, the government also announced the arrest of an unnamed commander the following day, saying he had mishandled the incident and caused “mistaken deaths and accidental injuries.”

The government has rejected comparisons with the massacre of hundreds of protesters in 1989 at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, a comparison drawn both by foreign journalists and by a prominent group of dissenting Chinese intellectuals who condemned the killings at Dongzhou in an Internet petition this week.

How did it happen? The Story
Just as worrisome for the central government are the alliances being forged between lawyers, social workers and advocates of change in China’s big cities and rural demonstrators. When Dongzhou’s residents were first confronted with the local government’s plans to build a coal-fired power plant in their midst, few villagers imagined they had any legal rights in the matter.

“Villagers had no knowledge of law,” said one woman by telephone. “The government will do whatever its wants. But later some of us who knew something about law learned the power plant wasn’t approved by the central government, and told other villagers.”

Although difficult to confirm, there are indications that the villagers were emboldened to challenge the plant’s construction through contacts with lawyers elsewhere in China.

After numerous discussions, the power company made an offer of less than $25 per family as compensation for land use and pollution caused by the planned coal-fired generator.

By that time, though, the villagers had already been energized, uncovering what they said were misrepresentations by the company about the amount of land it would use, and opposing the plant on other issues as well.

“Villagers didn’t accept the deal anyway,” said the telephone interviewee, describing how the movement gained momentum. “Initially nobody organized. Then little by little they did. The organizers had all served in the army. They had some basic knowledge of the law.”

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