Riot Police Attack Villagers During Mining Conflict

By Wang Liang, Epoch Times
April 17, 2013 12:01 am Last Updated: April 16, 2013 5:58 pm

In the small village of Buzhe, in Guizhou Province, around 600 villagers were beaten and dispersed with teargas by about 300 riot police on April 11. The villagers had come to assist a young couple being abused by police during a mining-related dispute.

Alongside agriculture, coal mining is the main source of income in this mountainous village, but it is causing serious damage to the environment. 

A resident called Mr. Han told The Epoch Times that six or seven people were quite seriously injured during the clash, including an 80-year-old woman, and four people were sent to hospital to receive treatment for damage to their eyes from the gas.

Local authorities and the mining company made a resettlement agreement with the villagers nine years ago, but have not provided adequate compensation for the environmental damage to the area, according to Mr. Han.

“Landslides, ground subsidence, a large section of the mine is cracking and sinking, this can be seen everywhere,” he said. “Some of the sinkholes are almost 10 meters deep, and span more than 10 square meters.”

“No water can be stored in the ground, and over 300 Chinese acres of farmland can’t be cultivated anymore,” Mr. Han added.

“There are more than 200 households in the village, but only 26 were relocated last year.”

As a last resort, the villagers built shacks in front of the mine to block the entrance in protest, and prevent mining activities.

On April 11, police came to the shacks and took away an old man living in one of them. They then bashed up the furniture inside, and set fire to his place. A couple in their thirties rushed over to try and put out the fire, but were handcuffed and taken into a work shed, where they were apparently beaten by nine police officers.

As soon as locals heard about this incident, around 600 villagers quickly surrounded the work shed. 

“Villagers had pieces of wood and fought with the police. They managed to free the couple in the end,” Mr. Han said, although they were still wearing handcuffs.

Soon after, about 300 riot police arrived at the scene, and began attacking the villagers, using teargas to disperse the crowd.

The next day, a large crowd came to protest outside the town hall, which was heavily guarded by riot police. Mr. Han said they would continue to protest as the lives of around 1,000 villagers are at stake.

Translation by Ariel Tian. Written in English by Peter Valk. 

Read original Chinese article. 

[email protected]