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Media Bias Against China Harms USA and China Both [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2004-8-7 22:24:33 |Display all floors
Civil disturbance involving 200 farmers is cast as an uprising of destabilizing proportions.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A46778-2004Aug6.html

If the Washington Post had wished to report this event against the farmers, it would have characterized it as a tragedy, not an uprising.  Officials had made numerous attempts to negotiate.  Repeated protests blocked traffic and interfered with emergency vehicles that must get to fires and hospitals.  Authorities sought to remove the worst agitators at night so the local demagogues could not foment a violent confrontation.  Despite their midnight raid and sizable force, an angry crowd surrounded police vehicles and refused to allow passage.  Fearing for their safety, police used tear gas and other non-lethal methods to clear a path through the crowd.  Once the situation had calmed down, officials acted quickly to treat those injured, including the rioters, and acted to restore harmony with gestures to promote reconciliation.

The raid seems similar to the Elian Gonzalez repatriation seizure which occurred in Miami, Florida, USA in 2000.  Gonzalez was a five year-old whose mother took him to Florida on a raft from Cuba.  The raft sank and the mother drowned.  The boy’s father demanded Elian’s return.  The mother’s local family in the Little Havana section of Miami refused to surrender the child because they opposed Cuba’s Communist Dictator Fidel Castro.  Angry crowds surrounded the house where Elian stayed to prevent authorities from removing him without a fight.  Numerous attempts to negotiate the release of Elian failed.  Officials eventually seized him in a night time raid, which was followed the next day by violent disturbances in Little Havana that led to the arrest of about 230 people.

http://www.detnews.com/2000/nation/0004/23/index.htm

The photograph below shows an American INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) officer seizing Elian Gonzalez in a night time raid.
200408072224334a03.jpg

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Post time 2004-8-8 10:55:19 |Display all floors

what i've read

from what i've read from chinese blogs and from the post article, the situation is not exactly as you portray it.  the four petition leaders who were arrested seem to have serious grievances with the local government leaders.  this police action was not to stabilize the social order, but was to silence these critics.  

ts

=========================

this is an english translation from the web site "secret china news":

According to information, the village leader of Shijiahe Village was buying land by expropriation from the peasants and then keeping the money for himself to the tune of over 40 million RMB.  The villagers ended with less and less land and therefore they were very dissatisfied.  They have tried petitioning many times.  On one petition trip, the group had a car accident that caused one death and six injuries.  Now, the group wants to petition to the central government, and that was why the police came in.

According to the follow-up report in Apple Daily, some villagers claimed that in Shijiahe Village outside Zhengzhou City, the party secretary Liu Guojiao had been taking farm land from the peasants and selling them to land developers.  Out of the one hectare or so per villager, it was reduced first to 90%.  On June 20, it was further readjusted to 60%.  A villager said: "We have not received a single cent from the land sale.  The peasants have to count on farming their land!"  According to information, Liu Guojiao received more than 40 million RMB from selling the land.

The peasants were not going to remain silent.  On June 29th, 400 to 500 villagers went to the district government to petition.  On their way back, there was an automobile accident.  Afterwards, the Zhengzhou City Committee sent a team of investigators into Shijiahe Village and they promised to disclose the results of their investigation.

But the results were not disclosed.  Instead, the investigation team withdrew abruptly from the village on the night before yesterday.  Several hours later, at 230am on the morning of July 31st, more than 600 riot police came in more than 50 vehicles and blocked off all the roads into Shijiahe Village.  Then the police entered the village to arrest the village petitioners.  The villagers were roused from their sleep.

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Post time 2004-8-9 04:22:31 |Display all floors

Thanks for the additional details.

Those details differ from the Washington Post report in several ways, but the story in general describes a problem associated with rising incomes and how to share the gains China is experiencing.  If you told a USA farming community that 30% of their acreage was going to be slated for development of factories and offices, they would jump for joy to be out from under the debt and ecstatic at the new job opportunities.  

One detail mentioned in the Post story was that a woman was shot nine times in the back with rubber bullets.  There are several ways that can happen.  One possibility is that she was unable to get out of the way fast enough when a policeman panicked after his path was blocked by an angry crowd.

I've read numerous reports about government officials in China being executed for corruption, which is considered an extreme punishment for theft in the West (we prefer public embarassment and detention with easy but menial chores).  Those news accounts cause me to suspect that there's more to the story than is making it onto the page.  As shown by the Elian Gonzalaz incident in 2000, even regular people here in the USA can be manipulated into creating dangerous situations.

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