China’s High Speed Rail network has rapidly expanded beyond the shadow of early disaster to “transform” the country. Over the weekend, Linshui in Sichuan saw bloody clashes between police and protesters who feared their city would lose a planned line to the nearby birthplace of former leader Deng Xiaoping. From The Sydney Morning Herald’s Philip Wen:
Tens of thousands have protested against high-polluting petrochemical factories, plastics plants and waste incinerators. Some protests have even been successful, though most have merely led to ugly clashes with police sent to stifle them. [see background from CDT]
On Saturday thousands of residents (as many as 30,000 according to organisers) marched to demand construction; angered that a proposed regional high-speed rail link cutting through the hilly region was to bypass their town in favour of neighbouring Guang’an.
[…] Videos and photos from the scene circulated on Chinese social media depicted protesters hurling rocks and being beaten heavily by baton-wielding police in riot gear. Many graphic images of bloodied protesters and injured bodies lying in the streets were also shared widely. Police vehicles with smashed windscreens were overturned and set on fire. [Source]
Some of these images have been collected at CDT Chinese, wickedonna.blogspot.hk, and Revolution News, while FreeWeibo.com has captured deleted Sina Weibo posts. The Financial Times’ Jamil Anderlini noted reports on social media that Internet connections in the area have been cut off. Al Jazeera English’s Adrian Brown, meanwhile, reported police intimidation and assault in the wake of the incident: