Violent Clashes in Ethnic Minority Areas in Yunnan and Hainan ProvincesComments Off on Violent Clashes in Ethnic Minority Areas in Yunnan and Hainan Provinces
(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, April 21, 2008)- Police fired on a group of about a hundred villagers who resisted land appropriation by a mining company in Yunnan Province yesterday. At least one villager (Chen Changfa 陈昌发), an ethnic Miao, was killed. Five other villagers were shot at and critically injured and more than twenty were beaten and injured.
In a separate incident, police clashed with about 6,000 villagers, mostly members of the ethnic Li minority, in three villages in Hainan Province between April 9 and 13.
Incident in Yunnan Province
The bloody confrontation occurred in Saixi Village, Mengdong Township, Malipo County, Wenshan Zhuang and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province. Zijin Mining Group, one of China’s main mining companies, had negotiated with the villagers about building a tungsten mine on their land. The villagers, mainly members of the ethnic Miao minority, have so far refused the offer citing insufficient compensation.
Yesterday afternoon, protected by security guards, police and paramilitary police dispatched by the Malipo County government, miners started excavation on village land. The villagers were angry. They attempted to block the operation and film the process using video cameras. Police and mining staff seized the cameras and the confrontation grew more heated and chaotic. Paramilitary police then fired on the crowd. Chen was shot at and killed immediately. Five others were shot at and admitted to Wenshan Prefecture Hospital. They are in critical condition. Another twenty villagers were beaten and injured and are receiving treatment at Malipo County Hospital. Scores of villagers were taken away by police for interrogations.
Malipo County government has reportedly blockaded information about the confrontation while paramilitary police setup checkpoints at main roads interrogating anyone who enters the county.
Incident in Hainan Province
Between April 9 and 13, police clashed with about 6,000 villagers, mostly members of the ethnic Li minority, in three villagers in Longqiao Township, Longhua District, Haikou City, Hainan Province. Villagers were protesting against the local government’s confiscation of about 100,000 mu of farmland to build golf courses without insufficient compensation. Police fired teargas and injured about 300 villagers. Some police officers were also injured. Police have sealed off the areas to prevent journalists from interviewing villagers.
CHRD urges local authorities to lift information blockade and travel ban and allow independent investigation and reporting in these regions. If there is evidence that villagers were beaten and killed for protesting peacefully, the authorities must bring to justice those responsible for police brutality.