Thousands Riot After Police Let Man Drown

By Lu Jianhui, Central News Agency
November 23, 2007 12:00 am Last Updated: November 23, 2007 12:00 am

HONG KONG—Thousands of people clashed with hundreds of armed police in Huzhou City, Zhejiang Province last Sunday, the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said on November 19.

The Information Center said the riot was sparked by police officers' refusal to rescue a drowning fugitive.

At 2 p.m. on November 18, 27-year-old worker Xiao Zhongming was intercepted by traffic policemen while riding a motorcycle with a friend. The two were afraid of being arrested for not wearing helmets and fled the scene. Unfortunately, Xiao fell into a river while running away.

Xiao could not swim and cried for help. Three traffic policemen on the shore heard his pleas but ignored them. After half an hour, the officers pulled Xiao's lifeless body from the water.

The news spread quickly through Huzhou's residential areas. That evening thousands of people gathered at the scene of the accident to protest the policemen letting Xiao drown. Authorities sent over hundreds of armed police in an attempt to disperse the crowd. During the clashes, the people overturned and destroyed police cars, and set trash cans afire by the side of road.

The Information Center quoted an eyewitness as saying that five police cars were demolished and at least 50 people were injured and 20 arrested in the riot.

It is said that Huzhou City Public Security Bureau has confirmed the occurrence of this riot, but the case is still under investigation.