A mass riot erupted on the afternoon of June 26, in Chizhou city, Anhui province. Over 2,000 people gathered at the scene where several police vehicles were burned and the local police station was ransacked, until the situation was brought under control by 700 officers from the Anhui Province Public Security Office before midnight.
The government media and the locals tell two totally different stories about the circumstances surrounding the incident. This is typical of such riots, but BBS messages commenting on the Chizhou riot suggest the public in China is well aware of the falsity of the government media reports.
According to local residents:
On the afternoon of June 26, the owner of the Renhe Private Hospital in Chizhou city was driving a car when he hit Liu Liang, a school student. The driver and the student began to quarrel over the incident and suddenly, several of his men inside the car jumped out to beat Liu Liang. Several taxi drivers came to defend Liu, then the driver ordered his men to: "Beat them, beat one more to death, it will just cost 300,000 yuan (approximately US$ 36,000) more." The men injured many with knives, and then the incident went out of control, as more taxi drivers stopped to support their fellow drivers.
According to one eyewitness, despite the arrival of No. 110 emergency police vehicle, the hospital owner's men continued beating the taxi drivers. Both sides refused to budge from about 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. The local residents were not satisfied with the police decision on the matter, and the situation went out of control again. Angry taxi drivers overturned, smashed and burned the car that hit the student, and also a police vehicle in front of the local police station. Nearly 2,000 people gathered around the scene, blocking a fire truck, and allowing the fire to spread. Two more police cars were overturned, smashed and burned, as the chaos continued.
The story by the government media–the Chizhou Daily on June 28:
"During the late afternoon and evening of June 26, a public act of violence happened on Qiupu Road in Chizhou city. Instigated by a small number lawless persons, locals, without knowing the truth of the incident, broke into the local police station, smashed and burned some vehicles, then beat police and ransacked supermarkets. The Chizhou Municipal Party Committee, City government and Province Public Security Office, upon notice of the incident, brought the situation under control by 11:00 p.m. that night, no deaths were reported."
According to a local source, the Anhui Province Public Security Office sent over 700 police to the area, and arrested many local residents. Currently, Liu Liang, the student who was beaten, is in a hospital.
Local Internet chat rooms in Chizhou could not be accessed.
In recent years, there have been a growing number of "mass riot incidents" happening in China. The New York Times reported (12/31/04) that there were over sixty thousand riots, disturbances, and public protests throughout China in 2004. The government media always gives a standard report indicating that, "a small number of lawless people instigated others who did not know the truth of the situation." But what is the truth? And how do China's people view these incidents of "mass riot incidents" and the standard government media reports?
The following are some comments on the Chizhou incident posted on other China BBS sites:
"There must be a lie in one of the two stories."
"People are always 'unidentified bad persons.' Marches are always 'illegal assemblies.' Troubles are always created by 'persons with ulterior motives.' The governing authorities are always 'glorious and correct.' "
"In this oppressive society, there are rarely courageous revolutionary heroes. In the end, who is always hiding the truth or even manipulating the truth?"
"Mobs are created by tyranny."
"Dictatorship is just like a person sitting on the volcano, it may have been dozens of years, but when it erupts, it will eliminate all the sin and evil on this planet, and give everyone justice!"