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Police Beat Up Chinese Peasants for Demanding Compensation

October 10, 2008

October 9, 2008

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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