Claims that local police in a county in Guizhou Province helped mask the rape and murder of a teenage girl have triggered China’s second major “mass incident” in recent months. First, the basics from Reuters:
Rioters torched a police building and vehicles in southwest China on Saturday, in unrest triggered by allegations of a cover-up over a girl’s death, according to Chinese accounts on the Internet.
The reports of the clash in Weng’an County, Guizhou province, could not be immediately verified and government and police did not answer phone calls in the early hours of Sunday.
But the accounts spreading on the Internet, despite China’s state censorship, depicted a violent outburst involving thousands of people and lasting several hours.
Residents were enraged by allegations that police had ignored a family’s claim that their 15-year old daughter, whose body was found in a river a week ago, appeared to have been raped and possibly murdered, the accounts said.
Read also Police station assaulted, torched by local people in southwest China county by Xinhua.
[Update: 2008.06.30, 12:07pm Beijing Time]
EastSouthWestNorth has translated a common version of the story circulating around the Internet, from popular overseas Chinese news site Boxun:
The name of the female student victim was Li Shufen. She was 15 years old and she was a resident of Yuhua town. At around 6pm on June 21, Li Shufen was asked to go out by her classmate Wang Jiao. Li was raped by two young men who killed her and tossed her body into the Simen river. At some time past 11pm that night, some people heard cries for help. At around 12:30am, Wang Jiao called the elder brother of Li Shufen to report that Li Shufen “had committed suicide by jumping into the river.”
Li Shufen’s elder brother and others went down by the river and saw Wang Jiao standing by the bridge with two men. They found that there was no water in Li’s stomach. Given that Li had given no indication of suicidal tendency, they took the three people down to the police station. But at 10am the next morning, the three people were released unconditionally without any interrogation or statement-taking. The police also said that the victim had died by “suicide.”
The next day, someone told the relatives of Li Shufen that she had been raped, killed and thrown into the river. The police did not conduct an autopsy and ignored the request from the family to do so. Based upon information provided by local citizens, the Li family found out that Wang Jiao and the two young men were related to the leaders of the county public security bureau, county party committee and provincial party committee. That was why they were released after being detained only eight hours.
Finally, Reuters’ Chris Buckley reports on a new national campaign to crack down on unrest ahead of the Olympics:
“The Beijing Olympics are approaching and properly carrying out petition and stability work, protecting social harmony and stability, and ensuring the Beijing Olympics go safely and smoothly has become a tough battle that every department at every level must win,” said one report of a nationwide video conference on a stability drive that was held on Saturday.
“Now we are entering a state of war,” said the report on a local government Web site in the eastern province of Zhejiang (www.dqnews.com.cn).
Chinese bloggers are also spreading clips from Hong Kong TV:
Latest news:Hundreds arrested in China for rioting over death of student from AP.