Conflicting Reports Over Who Incited Violence in Shifang
Conflicting Reports Over Who Incited Violence in Shifang

Residents of Shifang took photographs of riot police, which netizens circulated widely online. (Weibo.com)

Following mass protests in southwestern China over the proposed construction of a copper and molybdenum refinery, government officials blamed “a few criminals” for the violence that left dozens injured.

A regime official in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, told The Epoch Times that the aggressors were not local police but actually “special police” (tejing) belonging to the People’s Armed Police (PAP), which is overseen by security czar Zhou Yongkang. The official from Chengdu believes Zhou has ultimate responsibility for the violence.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the Chengdu official also told The Epoch Times that it was the special police who launched stun grenades and tear gas canisters at people beginning on July 2. “The local government would not be so arrogant. That means the driving force behind the bloody Shifang incident is the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee (PLAC), which oversees the Stability Maintenance Office,” he said.

While local officials stopped construction of the plant last week, the bloodshed never stopped, according to the anonymous official. He said that the environmental protest turned into a demonstration against the violence perpetuated by riot police.

Local officials from Shifang and Deyang, visiting hospitals, told the wounded that only a few criminals caused the violence when they rushed a government building throwing objects at armed police. The patients balked at this explanation, saying the officials’ reasons were unfounded. The explanation contrasted greatly with accounts given by protesters, and photos circulated widely on Chinese websites showing riot police beating unarmed civilians. Other police officers were standing still and not doing anything, according to netizens.

One of the wounded, Mr. Tse from Huilan in Shifang, told The Epoch Times that riot police targeted everyone and not just a few violent protesters. He said that while he was walking with his wife and daughter on July 3, police shot what appeared to have been a flash grenade at them.

The flashing light and high-decibel explosion from the device made him dizzy. He also could not see anything and his ears were in severe pain. Mr. Tse later realized that the explosion wounded his feet. He believes riot police threw the grenade.

Mrs. Tse, who suffered a severe leg injury, told The Epoch Times that recent hospital visits by government officials were merely for show, because they came with television reporters and plainclothes police officers. Government officials could not provide any explanation as to why the riot police threw bombs and fired tear gas, but they promised to pay for all the medical expenses, she said.

None of the police forces, or any agency of the regime, has stepped forward to take responsibility for the violence.

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