11/03/2004, 00.00
CHINA
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Henan, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Inner Mongolia shaken by social tensions

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Yesterday, hundreds of police and soldiers continued to block the Henan villages where violent clashes between Han Chinese and minority Hui Muslims left at least seven dead and 42 injured last week. Authorities in Beijing confirmed that the five-day riot, which broke out in Zhongmou county (Zhengzhou) last Wednesday, was quelled and the situation was under control.

While local officials avoided questions and the media remained muzzled, villagers confirmed that the villages of Nanren and Nanweitan were still under martial law. "We can go out freely and everything here is okay now despite martial law still being in force," said a Hui Muslim Nanren villager.

Since last September protesters have been blocking a cotton factory in Xianyang (Shaanxi province in central China) because of a dispute over prospective layoff compensation.

Angered by unfair compensation payments for farmland requisitions, villagers from the Wangong, Dashu and Shunhe townships in Hanyuan county (Sichuan)  gathered last Wednesday night at the site of the Pubugou hydroelectric project to stop the damming of the Dadu river. A staff member at Hanyuan People's Hospital confirmed that civilians and police were injured in the incident.

Meanwhile hundreds of security officers in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region stormed a university rock concert amid fears that the event could ignite ethnic protests against plans to develop the grave site of Genghis Khan. After dispersing the students from local universities, the authorities immediately instituted a lock down at schools throughout the city, prohibiting anyone from entering or leaving the campuses. The crackdown was ordered as ethnic tensions continue to simmer over plans by a Han businessman to tear down the famed Genghis Khan Mausoleum, in western Inner Mongolia, and build a more elaborate site in a bid to attract tourists.

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