07/03/2007, 00.00
CHINA
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In China’s ‘harmonious society’ protesters are beaten up

In Guangdong, workers protest for back pay. Employer hires hundreds of thugs to attack them with axes, knives and iron clubs. In Chongqing a student who was stabbed by a classmate, is not rescued and dies. Police beat up parents demanding justice and attack more than 10,000 people who protest.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Protesting to get one’s back pay can be bad for your health and land you in hospital. In Chongqing hundreds of police officers beat up people protesting the death of a student. In Guangdong private guards and hired thugs attacked 300 migrants who demonstrate against a company owned by a political big wig killing one and injuring dozens.

The Chongqing Morning Post reports that in Heyuan in Dongyuan County (Guangdong) more than 300 migrants demonstrated last Friday demanding four-month back pay. The companies said it had held back workers' pay because Fuyuan Energy had not paid the millions of yuan it owed them.

The South China Morning Post reports that Fuyuan Energy, which belongs to Fuyuan Group chairman Miu Shouliang and a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, refused to comment.

Armed with shovels, axes, iron clubs and knives, security guards and more than 300 thugs hired by Fuyuan Energy attacked the workers, killing one and injuring dozens. Four suspects were detained by police.

Qiu Xiaowei , a spokesman for a Fuyuan Energy subcontractor, accused the city government of not doing enough because of Fuyuan Energy's high-profile owner. It also said that even the local media was silent.

In Chongqing, Youyang County, high school student Dong Zhegui was stabbed by classmate. A local web log accused the school of leaving the wounded boy bleeding with the knife in his belly. When he did make it to the hospital, treatment was too late.

“It is also unbelievable that police even stopped Dong's mother from entering the school gate to see her son,” it read.

Several students were taken away by police for questioning, but all were released soon afterwards.

According to the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, the next day some parents went to the school to protest but before they could get the building they were stopped and beaten by police.

More than 10,000 people then took to streets to protest before the county government office building and in the streets. At least four people were arrested and more than 10 injured when 200 armed police were sent by the Youyang county government to disperse protesters.

State-owned China Daily reported today that the situation in the town was calm.

It was the second mass riot in Chongqing in a month. On June 3 a crowd of more than 10,000 people confronted police after city inspectors beat a pair of flower sellers, one of whom died.

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