Two Thousand Shanwei Villagers Commemorating 70 Massacred
On April 3, 2006, about 2,000 villagers from Dongzhou Village, Shanwei, mourned their dead family members at the site of the Shanwei massacre where over 70 people were shot to death and numerous others were wounded or jailed unjustly.
It has been almost four months since the Shanwei City government, Guangdong Province shot at its own people on December 6, 2005.
Shanwei government sent more than 200 people to guard the location, including police, army security guards, officials and village officers.
The sweeping of tombs during the Qing Ming Festival is an important ritual for the Chinese people to commemorate their deceased family members and ancestors. However, the Qing Ming Festival this year is a miserable commemoration for Dongzhou villagers.
According to Dongzhou villagers, many villagers went to the place of the murders to mourn their dead relatives on April 3. They took 10 days to prepare for the ritual. They brought offerings such as meat, fruit, and cookies to mourn those killed by the Chinese communist regime. They hoped the action would awaken the regime official's conscience to release villagers currently detained and help them find their missing relatives. According to the villagers, the atmosphere there was extremely sorrowful.
The Shanwei City government held an emergency meeting the night of April 2 when they learned more than 10 reporters would go to the site. The Honghaiwan government also held an emergency meeting the morning of April 3. As a result, the Shanwei City government sent many officers and police to set up roadblocks. There were policemen guarding the entrance of every road. Vehicles could not pass. Plainclothes police followed people to see whether they were reporters and looked for the leader who organized the mourning.
At 9:30 a.m., more than 70 cars, including police vehicles set roadblocks at all entrances of every road and street. Whoever wanted to go to the massacre site was refused entry. At first, there were almost 200 villagers. After 10:00 a.m., it increased to more than 1,000 villagers. The number reached the maximum of more than 2,000 villagers. The wife of the village representative was guarded by officials in order to prevent her from attending the mourning ceremony. People who watched the scene donated 2,000 yuan (US$241.55) to the villagers. One villager present at the site said, “An official told them, 'Go back quickly!'”
Another villager said, “The villagers kneeled on the ground sadly. Some kneeled before the officials. Some officials were so afraid that they evaded them and left for the police station gate. Everyone yelled, 'Overthrow corrupt officials….'.”
Villagers held out the banners to ask the central authorities to investigate the case in Dongzhou Village and give villagers justice. The farmers' banners said, “Farmers are treated unjustly! Wen Jiabao and Hu Jintao, please come to Dongzhou personally to investigate the facts.” The Shanwei City government also hung banners on the road, which said, “Development is a firm principle. Stability is a firm mission….” Villagers were unwilling to read what was on the banner.
In the past few months, a dozen families lead difficult lives because their family members were killed or detained. They cannot afford to send their children to schools or hospitals. As a result, the dead or missing villagers' wives have to beg beside the roads with their young children. However, these families were officially warned by the communist party officials that they are not allowed to beg on the streets. The written notice claimed these families “disturbed social order.”
A villager said, “There are still villagers begging on the street. They are waiting for reporters to report how they have been unjustly treated.” All CCP units held meetings to investigate who organized the event on April 3. School teachers said that students will not have a vacation on Qing Ming Festival, because the CCP wants students to spread circulars on the streets. The circulars say, “The government has solved the Dongzhou problem.”
It is said that three detained village representatives were transferred to Shanwei detention center from the Shenzhen detention center. They were not permitted to see their family members and they don't have any attorneys to represent them. Their family said, “It seems they can only wait for a court judgment.” The detained villagers' families asked the authorities to release these people and sought legal assistance. At the same time, they hope the outside world will continue to pay attention to the future of the Dongzhou villagers.