A climate of fear has gripped a South China fishing town as villagers evade patrols and defy a police campaign to encourage them to denounce their neighbours in the wake of a bloody crackdown two weeks ago.
A cordon of checkpoints has virtually isolated the town of Dongzhou, where police put down protests over a government land grab on December 6, killing at least three people.
Witness accounts from several villagers do not dispute the government’s official death toll. But being cut off from the rest of the world has made it difficult to sift truth from rumor and fueled talk of a government cover-up, a death toll as high as 20, and even bodies being dumped at sea.
Several men were still unaccounted for, a few locals said on Wednesday.