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Police Beat Up Chinese Peasants for Demanding Compensation
Phayul[Thursday, October 09, 2008 11:00]

Dharamshala, October 9 - Chinese police brutally beat up protesting peasants Wednesday in Sanjiang Town, Guandong province, Human Rights in China said.

The New York based NGO working for human rights in China alleged that hundreds of peasants who were on a peaceful sit-in protest were beaten up by the police.

The peasants blocked traffic at a major road in Sanjiang town demanding government compensation against the damage to property caused by Typhoon Hagupit which destroyed a river dam in Shenlei village. “The resultant flooding destroyed farmland, fish ponds, shrimp ponds, and other property on which village farmers depended for their livelihood,” HRIC said.

More than five hundred police officers, military police, and riot police were deployed to disperse the crowd, HRIC said citing witnesses. Witnesses also told HRIC that ‘police detained protesters and used batons to beat them, leaving some seriously injured and unconscious.’ Several bystanders who captured the incident in cellular phones were also taken away by the police.

Villagers say that they had planted palm trees around the dam for its protection but the trees were removed and sold by the authorities. "This is not only a case of police brutality," said Sharon Hom, executive director of Human Rights in China. "This involves a bigger issue of official theft of public property—cutting down and selling the palm trees—resulting in a man-made disaster that wiped out the peasants' livelihood."

This kind of violation by local officials is a pervasive phenomenon in China, HRIC said.

Villagers reported that their phones were blocked and the village is now under tight security, and is guarded by plainclothes policemen.

Phayul Bureau Report
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