Over A Thousand People Block Major Chinese Railway

March 25, 2007 12:00 am Last Updated: March 25, 2007 12:00 am

On March 21, over a thousand people in Yingtan (a major rail transport hub in China's Jiangxi Province) gathered on the tracks of the Guixi Railway Station, paralyzing travel for more than five hours. The people were protesting the Yingtan City government plans to re-divide the area's administrative districts. Scores of public security officers attempted to disperse the crowd causing injuries to a few individuals. Local residents claimed that the police finally resorted to tear gas in their attempt to drive off the protesters.

Guixi City lies at the heart of China's Yingxia, Zhegan and Wangan Railways. Among these three transport lines, Zhegan is part of Hukun railway, a main artery connecting Shanghai and Kunming.

According to Mingpao News , this “Anti-Merge Petition Campaign” was initiated in Guixi City Square, where protesters held a banner reading “Get out of Yingtan” in reference to the city's mayor, Yang Xianping, who is helping to orchestrate the city's major restructuring project. Traffic and security forces had to be dispatched to all major intersections throughout the area to confront the widespread demonstration and the destruction it had caused. The 302 National Highway connecting Guixi to Yingtan became nearly impassable and several vehicles of the city government were smashed in the chaos. By noon, the mob had pushed down the barrier wall of Guixi Railway Station. Holding a banner that read “Long Live the People,” over a thousand residents sat on the tracks and effectively shut down the station.

According Jiangxi News (jxnews.com) service, Yingtan City government plans to re-divide the area's administrative districts to make way for expanding future development. Guixi's organizational system is slated to be removed entirely and divided into three separate offices placed at one end of the city. The local economy, government and educational system would be severely impacted through this massive restructuring project, affecting nearly every citizen in the area.

When Jiangxi authorities were finally able to disperse the sizable crowd, rail service resumed at around 5:30 that evening. Some reports indicate that the Beijing was shocked by the massive protest and an investigation team has arrived in Yingtan City.