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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Chinese Riot After Officials Beat Disabled Fruit Vendor to Death in Broad Dayllight

Sulaiman Kamal | 1:32 AM | | | | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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Hundreds of rioters in a southern Chinese city battled with police into the early hours of Wednesday morning after a disabled fruit vendor died while being beaten by Chinese officials on the street in broad daylight.

The man, identified by the government as 52-year-old Deng Qiguo, died on Tuesday afternoon after a “dispute with city management staff” in the city of Anshun, in southern China’s Guizhou province, according to state media reports.

Local residents and numerous internet accounts from self-professed eyewitnesses said the one-legged man was beaten to death on the street outside a fruit and vegetable market by a group of China’s notorious chengguan or “city management” officials.
This quasi-police force mostly enforces laws against beggars, street vendors and other petty offenders and has a reputation for brutality and corruption.
Such cases are relatively common and a huge riot last month in China’s industrial heartland of Guangdong was apparently sparked by a similar incident in which city management officials beat up a 20-year-old pregnant migrant worker.
On Wednesday, dozens of graphic video clips and photographs of Mr Deng’s dead body were circulating on the internet but the gathering of angry residents that began after his death and lasted until the early hours of Wednesday morning seemed to have been quelled.
“Anyone who goes near [the scene of the earlier protest] will get beaten, they beat many people, more than 100,” said one Anshun resident who asked not to be named because of the fear of official retribution. “There are still a lot of police around here.”
State media said about 30 protesters and 10 policemen suffered injuries and police are questioning six city management officials involved in the case.
One local resident, who also asked not to be named, said Mr Deng was a familiar face who was often seen pushing his fruit cart around the neighborhood. This person claimed to have known Mr Deng for about 10 years and said his wife had left him and he had to care for two or three children on his own.
According to unofficial figures the number of protests and other “mass incidents” in China has doubled in the past five years to some 180,000 in 2010, prompting the government to ramp up spending on its domestic security apparatus.
In the wake of the Arab Spring revolts that swept across North Africa and the Middle East this year, Beijing launched an intense crackdown on anyone it considered a potential trouble-maker.
But it has failed to quell the growing number of spontaneous riots and protests sparked by acts of perceived official injustice or poor governance.
In Tunisia, the self-immolation of a young fruit vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, who had also been beaten and humiliated by local “municipal inspectors” is credited with starting the revolution in that country that spread to the rest of the region.
But most analysts point out that, despite Beijing’s nervousness, China does not share many of the problems that allowed a seemingly isolated incident to spiral into a revolution in Tunisia.
For example, China’s population is relatively old and getting older (thanks in part to its one-child policy), average incomes have been rising steadily for years, and urban unemployment is very low.

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