採訪/顧曉華 編輯/張天宇 後制/李智遠
Shantou Villagers’ Protest Meets Bloody CCP Crackdown
Tragedies over forced demolitions and officials profiteering
from land sales are widespread in China.
Clashes have also intensified; the number of cases have
risen from being in the tens, to hundreds or even thousands.
Facing heavily armed police, it’s always
the defenseless citizens who are hurt.
Sept. 26—At 8am, thousands of villagers from Shantou,
Guangdong Province, protested in front of the City Hall,
demanding the return of their land and an investigation
to be made by the newly-arrived central inspection team
into the corrupt Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials
who are profiteering through illegal land sales.
The villagers gathered in a sit-in protest with a banner
signed by tens-of-thousands wanting confiscated land back.
But after a long wait, who greeted them were not officials
but hundreds of heavily armed riot police.
Ms. Lin, Villager: “Around 12:50pm, about 200 riot police
came armed, and told us to clear the scene."
“They beat people with batons, paying no regard to
whether they were the elderly, children or youth."
“The police ripped the clothes of elderly people who were
over 70 years old and kept hitting their heads badly."
The riot police lashed out, hitting whoever they saw,
injuring many villagers.
People tried to escape, but the police ran after them
and even used tear gas.
Ms. Lin: “It was too chaotic and bloody and I was shaking
the whole time; I’ve never seen such a scene."
“It’s hard to believe the government would do this
to defenseless villagers—the bloodshed was non-stop;
we started to run, but the police wouldn’t let go,
instead they threw tear gas at us."
“We just kept retreating to the other side of the square,
but the tear gas never stopped; we couldn’t talk
and our tears kept running."
The villagers say the tear gas was not used to expel people,
but to make them lose resistance, so they could be arrested;
even injured villagers at the hospitals have been arrested.
Ms. Lin: “We were so badly injured that we had to see doctors
with bleeding that wouldn’t stop, or some had a cracked skull,
and others with broken arms; the local hospitals have received
many injured villagers, mostly elderly, in their 70s or 80s."
“It was scary; their faces and bodies were covered in blood,
but the police arrested people even at the hospitals."
The Epoch Times reported that after the clashes on the 26th,
thousands of police arrived in around 300 police vehicles.
The arrests continued into the 27th, and some police
were armed with pistols, according to the villagers.
For over a decade, local officials have been selling forests,
beaches and arable lands, by secretly forging the signatures
of villagers, and pocketing hundreds-of-millions of yuan
from the land sales.
Since 2012, villagers have been petitioning for
an investigation, but rather than fulfilling their roles,
authorities have had many villagers arrested,
and clashes have taken the place of discussions.
Huang Qi, founder of human rights website, 64tianwang.com:
“The land acquisitions through demolitions are backed up by
vested interest groups, who profit from the extremely low cost
of acquiring land from farmers."
“Once the victims protest, the officials suppress them
with armed forces, to safeguard their own vested interests."
Huang Qi says, following increasing awareness of civil rights
and seeing the distress of many landless peasants due to
the forced demolitions and land acquisitions, more people
will be standing up and saying no to the greedy CCP officials.
On 28th, afternoon, the Shantou City Public Security Bureau
attended a press conference and argued that the violent rioting
was due to a gambling case that provoked certain villagers.
A total of 26 people have been detained and charged,
according to reports.
Interview/Gu Xiaofa Edit/Zang Tianyu Post-Production/Li Ziyuan