Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – More than a thousand police agents in riot gear were sent to Hotel Yonglong in Shishou (Hubei) to remove the body of Tu Yuangao, a 24-year-old man who died mysteriously on 17 June. They were stopped however at the entrance of the hotel by an angry crowd of more than 10,000 local residents. In the clashes that ensued at least 200 people were injured, this according to the Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy.
The authorities claim that the young man, who worked at the hotel as a chef, committed suicide. His body was found in the hotel lobby and police declared his death a suicide, ordering its removal and immediate cremation.
Mr Tu’s father refused, saying that his son would not take his own life. Instead he called for an investigation.
Upon police request the body was kept at the hotel, but last Friday anger boiled over and people began blocking streets and set up roadblocks around the area.
Yesterday residents told a newspaper the whole story and began talking about it on online discussion forums.
Unverified local sources said that senior cadres in the police, court and electricity bureau were shareholders in the hotel, which is also believed to be a place where drugs are sold.
Some residents told the South China Morning Post that Tu was killed after he threatened to disclose the drug deals carried out by the hotel owner when he demanded overdue pay.
Residents say the body of a girl was also found outside the hotel two years ago, dead under similar circumstances.
People are wondering why the police is not pursing the matter and is trying instead to retrieve the body and prevent the family from having it.
In China police is notorious for being at the service of ruling political groups rather than ordinary citizens. Often people end up acting out with force at expressions of such behaviour.
In Zhu village, at Huadu near Guangzhou residents were so mad that their reaction came close to open revolt and lynching.
When the government decided to acquire land to make way for a property development, residents rushed to build new houses and grow more plants in order to increase land values and the compensation they would receive.
However, when a government team was sent to stop the villagers, it was besieged for six hours by residents.
Clashes erupted when police was sent to rescue the government officials with villagers throwing bricks and stones at the agents
Nine police officers and several villagers were apparently injured in the clash, and at least two villagers were taken to hospital.
Crowds eventually dispersed hours later.