China vows crackdown after latest protest

Chinese police clashed for a second day on Tuesday with protesters who stopped the construction of a metals factory, in the latest unrest highlighting grass-roots, environmental concerns in China.

Police fired tear gas and stun guns during the worst of the violence on Monday, according to official accounts and local residents, who both reported that rallies continued on Tuesday despite strong government warnings.

The unrest occurred in the small city of Shifang, which is still trying to recover after being badly hit in a 2008 earthquake that killed 88,000 people in the southwest of the country.

In unusually strong language, Shifang police warned locals on Tuesday they would be "severely punished" if they continued the "illegal" protests.

"Anyone who has incited, planned or organised illegal gatherings, protest marches or demonstrations or those who have engaged in smashing and looting... will be punished severely," the police said in a statement.

"Anyone using the Internet, mobile text messages and other methods to incite, plan or organise illegal gatherings, protest marches or demonstrations must immediately stop their illegal activities."

Two protesters were killed in the protests, rights watchdog Chinese Rights Defenders said, although this could not be independently verified. The local police and government made no reference to deaths in their accounts.

The protesters had gathered at a square near the city government's office on Monday to protest against plans by a company to build a factory that would process a heavy metal.

Residents said in Internet postings they were scared of the damage it would do to the local environment, while complaining that officials had not consulted them about the plant.

It was unclear how many people were involved in the protests, although residents said thousands gathered on Monday.

As the violence escalated on Monday, the local government issued a statement saying construction of the planned factory had been suspended.

However the statement, and warnings from the police, failed to stop more people taking to the streets on Tuesday.

"Whenever the riot police see crowds gather they fire tear gas, this is terrifying," a resident told AFP over the phone on Tuesday afternoon.

A woman from Shifang government's media office also told AFP that protests continued on Tuesday, but gave no further details.

Another Shifang resident posted a plea on Chinese microblog site Sina Weibo for police not to harm the protesters.

"You have fired tear gas, our biggest weapon is plastic water bottles. You are fully armed, we are dressed in simple clothes," the resident posted.

The microblogger confirmed to AFP the posting as authentic when reached by phone, but declined to be named.

Social unrest is a major problem for China's communist rulers, who are struggling to deal with anger across the vast nation of 1.3 billion people over issues such as environmental degradation, rising inequality and corruption.

Protests similar to the one in Shifang are reported regularly, although cases of protesters achieving victories are rare.

In one of the few such wins, local authorities in the northeastern city of Dalian shut down a chemical plant in August last year after thousands of people took to the streets in protest over fears it would belch out carcinogens.

While authorities typically seek to control information about social unrest, Chinese web users take to Twitter-style microblog sites such as Sina Weibo in a bid to get around the censors.

"Shifang" was the most-searched topic on Sina Weibo on Tuesday, with more than 10 million searches.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • EU threatens Thailand with seafood ban over illegal fishing
    EU threatens Thailand with seafood ban over illegal fishing

    BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union has given Thailand six months to drastically crack down on illegal and unregulated fishing or face an EU seafood import ban, but has lifted the threat of similar action against South Korea and the Philippines. …

  • Philippines accuses China of turning water cannon on its fishing boats

    Filipino activists denounced China's coast guard on Tuesday for turning water cannon on Philippine fishing boats in disputed waters, near where hundreds of Filipino and American Marines landed on a beach in a mock assault. The presidential palace in Manila said China's coast guard used water cannon on Monday to drive away a group of Filipino fishermen at Scarborough Shoal, damaging some of their wooden boats. …

  • Image of Asia: Training to storm a beach in the Philippines
    Image of Asia: Training to storm a beach in the Philippines

    In this photo by Bullit Marquez, a U.S. Navy amphibious assault vehicle with Philippine and U.S. troops on board storms the beach during a joint exercise at the Naval Education and Training Command center in Zambales province, northwest of Manila. The Zambales shore faces the disputed Scarborough Shoal, where Chinese vessels were reported to have driven away Filipino fishermen with a water cannon and seized some of their catch in early April. Philippine military officials say the maneuvers with …

  • Pinoy team wins global disaster preparedness competition

    The Philippines was one of the big winners at the 2015 Global Innovation Competition last week for a cloud-based information system for disaster. The project, called "Balangay," is the brainchild of cousins Frei Sangil and Paolo Sangil. …

  • How Asia uses Bitcoin in one color-coded map
    How Asia uses Bitcoin in one color-coded map

    Bitcoin is a global phenomenon, but not everyone around the world uses it in the same way. Here in Asia, the way a person from the Philippines uses bitcoin is probably very different from how it’s used in Thailand, and both are very different from the typical user in Taiwan. Despite bitcoin being hailed as …

  • Pacmania sweeps Philippines ahead of Mayweather clash
    Pacmania sweeps Philippines ahead of Mayweather clash

    Manny Pacquiao's face is on shirts, dolls and postage stamps, his life story is playing in movie houses and millions are getting ready to party as the Philippine boxing hero's "fight of the century" nears. Pacmania is sweeping the Southeast Asian nation of 100 million people ahead of the May 2 Las Vegas bout against unbeaten Floyd Mayweather to decide who is the best boxer of their generation. Of course, it's the fight of the century," Manila film producer Lucky Blanco told AFP. …

  • Manila 'cute little submissive' of US: China media
    Manila 'cute little submissive' of US: China media

    The Philippines is nothing more than the "cute little submissive" of the United States, a Chinese tabloid with close ties to the ruling Communist Party said on Tuesday, criticising Manila for military exercises with Washington. The English-language editorial came a day after the Philippines launched giant 10-day war games with the US and Australia, partly aimed as a warning shot to Beijing amid competing claims in the South China Sea, home to vital shipping routes. "Of all the countries …

  • Philippines seeks more military aid from US to counter China
    Philippines seeks more military aid from US to counter China

    The Philippines said Tuesday it would soon ask the United States for more military equipment and training to build its defences, as it faces Chinese "aggressiveness" in disputed waters. As hundreds of Filipino and American Marines simulated an amphibious assault to reclaim territory from invaders during annual war games, military chief General Gregorio Catapang told AFP he was drafting a "wish list" for US aid. Catapang said the Philippines would ask for "equipment and training", when Foreign …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options