06/11/2007, 00.00
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Over 10 thousand people clash with police in Chongqing

City inspectors beat a couple of flower sellers to death. The crowd rise in protest as police scramble to protect the inspectors. Public protest against official’s brutality grows ever more frequent.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Over 10 thousand people in Chongqing (Sichuan) clashed with police after city inspectors beat two flower sellers one of whom later died.  The unrest took place June 3rd but authorities forbid the reporting of the event, which emerged just yesterday through internet.

Eye-witness Zhang Yan, told the South China Morning Post that the couple of flower sellers, both in their fifties, took flight when they saw the inspectors approach.  “But the officers – he continued - chased them and beat them until they lay in a pool of blood”, in full view of passers-by and school students.  “Hundreds of police arrived and they backed the inspectors” from the crowds. People started to gather to protest and more and more residents joined in.

Zhou Dan, a textile worker, told that a schoolgirl from the Eleventh Middle School, who criticised the inspectors' brutality, was beaten up by police at the scene. Both the school and police refused to comment or confirm the case.

The clashes, among the most serious the city has seen in recent times, lasted at least 8 hours.  Traffic congestion impeded ambulances from aiding the two traders, who only got to hospital 5 hours later.  The man died a day later due to a grave internal haemorrhage, while his wife is suffering from broken ribs.

The city inspector is a figure created in the 90’s to combat widespread illegal trading, but many of them resort to violence.  Just a few days after this event in Zhengzhou thousands of students clashed with police for hours after police broke the teeth of a female student, who worked as a street trader to pay for her studies.  


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