Tax Collection Triggers Riot, Arrests and Reform in Zhejiang (Updated)

Hundreds of angry migrants in Zhili, a town in Zhejiang province, clashed with riot police late Thursday night after the owner of a children’s clothing company refused to pay his taxes and then rallied a group to turn on the tax collectors, according to state-run media. From The Washington Post: The report did not explain why the business owner did not want to pay his taxes. But a local doctor surnamed Zhao contacted by The Associated Press said he had heard that town authorities were imposing a higher tax rate for migrant businesses than for local ones, causing unhappiness among the group who were from neighboring Anhui province. The Huzhou Online said police had detained five suspects and that another 23 suspects were being held as part of the investigation. Around 100 protesters swarmed toward the township government offices, hurled rocks and destroyed street lamps, smashing the windows of more than 30 private cars, said the Zhejiang Online, a provincial news website. It added that several police and urban management officers were injured. Protesters also smashed an Audi car, whose driver ran the vehicle into the group, knocking down 10 people, the Zhejiang Online said. All 10 were hospitalized and the driver was being held by police, it said. Reuters published a set of photos from the scene, and reported that searches for Zhili on Sina Weibo had been blocked, though photos posted of the riots could be found through other search terms. The riots indicate growing agitation among migrants, middle- and lower-class households and private businesses in a Chinese economy marked by stagnant incomes and high inflation. From The Wall Street Journal: The protests come as smaller private-sector firms, many of which are concentrated in the area near Shanghai, have been squeezed by government efforts to tap the brakes ...
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