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Jul 17

Images from a mass incident in Huizhou

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:News | Tags:, , ,
64 Comments » newest 2008-07-21 05:41:33

There appears to have been a clash involving riot police in Huizhou. I will provide these images and early hearsay reports, but I want to remind everyone: be careful with any unconfirmed reports. As the Weng’an riots proved, rumors are not only often wrong, they are also potentially very dangerous. As soon as we have credible media reports (and I expect that we will), I will make sure they are included in this story.

UPDATE: About 12 hours after this post first went up, the Chinese media is delivering the first official version of events, see here.  This version is different from the initial rumor in one specific detail: local police confirm the driver died, but insist it was in an accident.  Very similar to the Weng’an riots in that sense.  I trust we’ll see a thorough investigation from the province; Wang Yang, the party secretary for Guangdong, is known for his liberal take on government and politics.

Huizhou is a city in Guangdong province. The rumors (连接) tell us traffic police blocked a private minivan-bus, and asked for 100 RMB in toll. The driver refused to give any, and a confrontation followed, leading to the driver’s death. Rumors say local police offered private compensation to the victim’s family, but they refused and are demanding public investigation. Subsequently, a group from the driver’s home village in Hunan province, including alleged organized criminal gangs from Hunan, arrived in Huizhou. There are rumors of two police officers killed, in addition to the property damage seen below:

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Jul 07

Wall Street Journal gets it wrong on Weng’an

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:Analysis, media | Tags:,
43 Comments » newest 2008-07-12 09:15:31

A few days ago, an assistant working for the Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong emailed me an inquiry, asking for my thoughts on the Weng’an story. They were working on a story about the significance of citizen bloggers like Zola, and were interested in my input.

Unfortunately, the version they finally went to press with is simply wrong. I usually am more politic on this blog, but I feel entitled to judge this article, especially after they asked me for my opinion. The title and introductory paragraph from the article tell you all you really need to know about the rest:

Chinese Bloggers Score a Victory Against the Government
Firings Indicate Growing Power; Exploits of ‘Zola’

Aggressive Chinese bloggers make an art of challenging Chinese government propaganda. This week, they can claim a victory.


That change in stance appears to be a direct result of pressure brought by journalists and Chinese bloggers such as Zhou Shuguang, a self-styled “personal news station,” who didn’t allow the issue to drop, posting to the Internet unofficial reports along with photos and pleas from the family of the dead youth.

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Jul 05

Heads roll (figuratively) in the Weng’An riot aftermath

Written by: DJ | Filed under:News | Tags:, , ,
10 Comments » newest 2008-07-10 14:52:37

David Peng made a prediction in his blog An Anachronist’s Life on July 1st, thee days after the Weng’An riot:

… I predict, the “Hu Jintao style” government response [which emphasises on proactive reporting the news and guiding the public discussion/opinion in order to restore/maintain stability] is going to be followed by acts in the “organizing department style” , that the entire local leadership team is going to be summarily dismissed.

He was right. The following is a translation of an article titled “Party secretary and head commisioner of Weng’An county both dismissed”, coming from the Xinhua Net.

Guizhou provincial government continues pursuing officials responsible for the June 28th Weng’An incident. Authorities at various levels have decided on July 4th to dismiss Weng’An county party secretary, Wang Qin, and head commisioner, Wang Haiping, from their positions. [Note: these are the top 1 and 2 positions at the county level.]

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Jul 02

Weng’an Riots: How the state media hurts China

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:media | Tags:, , , , ,
96 Comments » newest 2009-11-11 03:13:44

The central government did many things right in response to the Weng’an riots. Beijing’s campaign to treat “sudden incidents” with more openness was also obvious; a full news conference revealing the government’s version less than 2 days after the riot is pretty unheard of by Chinese standards. Reporters from around the country and world flooded into Guizhou without limitation (according to one reporter on site, as many as 140 reporters were present for a banquet last night). Citizen blogger/reporters, like Zola, also reported from the scene. Senior provincial leaders were also sent to Weng’an to provide high-level attention; Shi Zongyuan, the Party chief for Guizhou province, was on the scene leading that first investigation team within two days.

By anyone’s standard, these should all be considered positive steps in the aftermath of this type of crisis. But it didn’t completely work; for many Chinese, online tempers still flared. Here’s one key, representative quote behind the public frustration:

Shi Zongyuan pointed out, “6.28” incident started for a simple reason, but was used by a small number of people with ulterior motives along with the participation of evil, organized criminals.

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Jul 01

July 1st – Heartfelt thoughts of a Party member

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:Letters | Tags:,
41 Comments » newest 2013-07-28 08:48:24

On July 1st, 1921, the Communist Party of China was founded by a group of students and intellectuals in Shanghai; that date has served as the official birth date of the Communist Party since. The 87th birthday for the Communist Party passed in very troubled fashion, however, as China was reminded yet again of the deep corruption and dissatisfaction in various corners of the country. This posting translated below comes from a Party member on the Strong Country forum, and represents his thoughts on the Weng’an (Wengan) riots (连接):

As a member of the Chinese Communist Party, I wanted to say a few things to the Party Central, about the Weng’an (Wengan) incident:

1. There is no Communist Party that fears the people. The magic weapon for the Communist Party’s success during the revolution was trusting in the people, depending on the people, and motivating the people. This will always be the Party’s greatest weapon. The Party should actively dive into the people, and respectfully listen to the voices of the people, rather than simply waiting for problems to erupt before trying to “stabilize” the people. The Chinese Communist Party used to have an unparalleled ability to motivate the people; has this ability or strengthened or weakened? Every Party member should think deeply on this issue.

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Jul 01

Weng’An riots: The family’s petition

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:News | Tags:, , ,
32 Comments » newest 2008-07-03 23:12:11

These petitions were scanned in by blogger-journalist Zoula (连接). Much thanks to werew for bringing it to our attention (see previous thread). The first petition is shortly after the girl’s death, and the second petition comes two days later after the family and public security clashes.

(Written on June 23rd)
To the Weng’An (Wengan) Public Security Ministry:

Applicant: Li Xiuhua, Chinese Communist Party Member, Male, 36 years of age, Han, Weng’An resident, father of victim Li Shufen.

My daughter Li Shufen, before death, was a second year (8th grade) student at the local middle school. In order to study more conveniently, she rented an apartment from Liu Jingxue. At 18:00 (6 PM) in the afternoon of June 21nd, she was called away from her apartment by classmate Wang Jiao. On the same day at 23:12 (11:12 PM), Wang Jiao used her cell phone to call the victim’s brother Li Shuyong (a graduate of a local high school) informing him that Li Shufen was playing with her, and would be staying over that night, and definitely wouldn’t be going home.

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Jun 30

In the aftermath of the Weng’An (Wengan) riots, most newspapers are running with Xinhua’s short three paragraph report on the issue. I believe in keeping with recent trends, we will hear a much more detailed analysis and explanation from Xinhua shortly. In the mean time, there have been several online editorials from various newspapers, in some cases perhaps bending official rules on independent reporting by highlighting netizen comments rather than their own story. Many of these editorials are focusing their attacks on the local government, while insisting that the central government desires something else. I hope their interpretation proves to be the case. I translate two editorials below.

First, an article from the online site of the Jiangsu Communist Party newspaper Xinhua Daily, which is not directly related to the national Xinhua: (“How hard is it to give the masses the real picture?”, 原文)

… Article begins with a repeat of the first paragraph of the Xinhua story on the incident …

The incident’s cause is simple; it’s all because of dissatisfaction with the county public security office’s determination on “cause of death” for a female student. Emotionally, it’s very difficult for people not to place their sympathies with the weaker party. The majority of people are logical and rational, and that’s a point that no one, not even the national leadership or officials of every level would try to argue. So, unless it’s reached the point of extreme desperation, no one would risk everything to surround and attack the government. And from a logical point of view, it’s not difficult to determine that the people might have had good reason to rush into action.

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Jun 30

The Weng’An Riots – Online

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:News | Tags:, ,
23 Comments » newest 2008-07-04 06:59:50

The Chinese internet is up in arms over the story of riots in Guizhou province over the weekend.  For the most comprehensive news we know so far, I refer you to ESWN’s very detailed coverage.  There’s nothing I have to add.

Roland at ESWN mentions that an article at Xinhua forum (连接) has been left open to netizen discussion, in contrast to much tighter standards at Tianya and MaoYan.   It’s also interesting to note that the Strong Country forum (连接) run by the People’s Daily has also been running very loose standards, if any.  See attached snapshot showing the most frequent discussions on Strong Country, many of which refer to Weng’An by name.  (If you click into a post, a side-bar showing the most current posts are almost entirely all about Weng’An.)

Popular threads on Strong Country right now include:

  • Guizhou Province Weng’An Prefecture Has Hitting/Smashing/Burning Incident (连接)
  • I support the people of Guizhou – Weng’An (连接)

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