07/14/2008, 00.00
CHINA
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Migrants in revolt: protests in Zhejiang, arrests in Guizhou

Migrant workers in Yuhuan have assaulted a group of policemen. In Wengan, according to the police, among the 30,000 who burned communist party and police offices and 40 automobiles, there were "39 criminals". The uprisings increase in proportion to corruption and injustice.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Tension remains high in Zhejiang, where recently over three days there were protests and clashes between migrants and security forces. Meanwhile, the police have arrested 100 people for the revolts that took place in Wengan (Guizhou) at the end of June, after the discovery of a girl's body in the river.

In Zhejiang, in the county of Yuhuan, the incident broke out last July 10. According to an official report, a migrant named Zhang complained to the authorities about "colliding with a wall". It is likely that he was beaten by his employers in one of the many disputes affecting the world of migrant workers, whose rights are not respected. The police decided to take Zhang to the hospital, but along the way they met a crowd of angry migrant workers who stopped them, disabled 6 police motorcycles, and started throwing rocks. The official account does not say how many people attacked the police, but concludes by saying that 23 people have been arrested.

The police of Wangan (Guizhou) have revealed that 100 people have been arrested after participating in demonstrations and violence in which the communist party office, two police offices, and 40 government vehicles were burned (see photo). According to the authorities, 39 of those arrested belong to criminal groups.

The protests involved 30,000 people, and erupted after the police found the body of a 15-year-old girl in the river, and established that she had drowned. Her parents, instead, accuse the sons of some local party and government leaders of raping their daughter and then throwing her into the river.

In an effort to contain the protests, the provincial authorities, party leader, and mayor of Wengan have been dismissed. The police chief has acknowledged that Wengan has a long history of violence and corruption on the part of authorities against the population.

Party corruption, the expropriation of land, and the exploitation of migrant workers are the cause of tens of thousands of uprisings each year. The government has promised that, in the few weeks before the Olympics, it will permit no protests, uprisings, or petitions.

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