Thousands of protesters in the southwestern city of Chongqing were violently suppressed by police on June 6 and 7, with at least a dozen seriously wounded and several unconfirmed reports of deaths.
On June 6, thousands of residents from Shuangqiao District gathered near a gas station on the Dayou expressway to protest against plans to merge the district with the neighboring Dazu County. The protest resulted in massive traffic jams. The local governor dispatched riot police who violently beat protesters, some of whom fought back with bricks and stones. Dozens of protesters were wounded.
Protests grew larger the following day, with over 10,000 residents marching, according to accounts online. Several thousand riot police were sent to disperse the crowds.
“Today more police have arrived, at least 2,000 of them, while there are at least 10,000 or 20,000 locals. We citizens have no weapons. Because the police were afraid that we would throw bricks at them again, they have removed all the bricks on the ground around gas station,” a local woman who wished to remain anonymous said on June 7.
Shopkeepers supported the protesters by going on strike, according to Huang Qun, a resident who was reached by telephone.
Huang also cited about 2,000 riot police, in her estimate. They were bused in, she said. “When the crowds tried to approach them, the police would indiscriminately hit them with batons, or launch tear gas bombs at them. I heard that someone was beaten to death today. Some people say that they saw a local who looked around 40 get beaten to death and dragged to one side. He was left lying on the ground in a pool of blood, and nobody saw him get up.” The Epoch Times was unable to confirm the death, and there was no official acknowledgement of deaths during the protests.
Huang continued: “Yesterday a pregnant woman was so seriously beaten that she had a miscarriage, and several seriously wounded locals were hospitalized. The riot police used their batons to indiscriminately attack empty-handed citizens. As the police advanced, the locals turned and fled, and those who were slower were caught and beaten. They also fired choking clouds of tear gas into the crowds, and some people even fainted from the gas.”
Comments online referred to people being “beaten to death on the spot with batons” and others dying on the way to hospital.
The protests over the merging of the two districts mirror similar protests that erupted in April in Chongqing, when over 10,000 residents of Wanshen District protested against its merger with Qijiang District.
On Dec. 25, 2011, Bo Xilai, former Chongqing party secretary, had forced Shuangqiao District to merge with Dazu County to form the new Dazu district. Since the merger, economy in Shuangqiao District has declined, and welfare benefits for residents have been cut, with poor households deprived of low-income subsidies.
Read the original Chinese article.
The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 19 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.