Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Chinese Unrest continues

A harbinger of things to come?

SHANGHAI, Jan. 16 - A week of protests by villagers in China's southern industrial heartland over government land seizures exploded into violence over the weekend, as thousands of police officers brandishing automatic weapons and electric stun batons moved to suppress the demonstrations, residents of the village said Monday.

The residents of the village, Panlong, in Guangdong Province, said that as many as 60 people were wounded and that at least one person, a 13-year-old girl, was killed by security forces. The police denied any responsibility, saying the girl died of a heart attack.

Villagers said that the police had chased and beaten protesters and bystanders alike, and that villagers had retaliated by smashing police cars and throwing rocks at security forces in hit-and-run attacks.

Residents said Monday that the village had been sealed off, with the police monitoring roads into the area to check identification and bar access to outsiders. News of the violence appears to have been blocked in China.

The Chicomms, as ruthless and bloody any group in history, are trying to hold on to political power by allowing more economic latitude. It's a formula that has worked in the past 15 years and brought great wealth, albeit drastically unequal, to the country. Rampant corruption, stifling pollution and an appalling lack of basic decency are the hideous children of the Chinese policy. As they showed in Tiananmen Square and many times since the government has no qualms about crushing dissent.

They crushed this riot today. They'll crush the riot tomorrow. They'll probably crush the riot next year. But one day, whether its an economic recession or a badly botched Taiwan adventure, they will not be able to contain it.

It might just start with a 13 year old girl who dies of a "heart attack."

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