Shengyou’s hired thugs arrested

Some more seemingly good news from Shengyou, where the villagers on June 11 successfully mobilized against busloads of hired thugs who sought to terrorize them.

Police have arrested 22 people over a deadly mob attack on a village whose residents have refused to leave their land to make way for a power plant, Xinhua news agency reported.

A construction contractor and 21 accomplices were arrested in the northern Hebei province and are being charged with killing six farmers and wounding 51 in the pre-dawn clash, it said.

The contractor, identified only as Zhang, was arrested by police in Dingzhou city after he allegedly hired up to 300 thugs to descend on Shengyou village on June 11, Xinhua said.

The attackers — mostly men in their twenties, armed with hunting rifles, clubs and sharpened metal pipes, and wearing construction helmets — were transported in six buses to the raid.

Sharpened metal pipes. How charming.

You don’t often hear about the police taking actions like this to see that justice is done on behalf of the poor farmers. A part of me is still a bit skeptical and cynical, because so often the police are the ones initiating the violence against the peasants. (If you go back to the original article, you’ll see that the mercenary captured by the villagers begged them not to turn him over to the police who, he said, would kill him for confessing his crimes.)

So is this an example of the police standing up against the rich land-grabbers and fighting to protect the peasants? Or is it a smokescreen? I’ll give the police the benefit of the doubt for now.

The Discussion: 19 Comments

The real story of course is who stands behind the power station project that led to all this – apparently Li Peng’s son.

June 22, 2005 @ 3:42 pm | Comment

That certainly explains why they might want a smokescreen….

June 22, 2005 @ 3:47 pm | Comment

I saw the video clip on TV here in Beijing on the weekend. Don’t know if that adds any more fuel to the speculation…

June 22, 2005 @ 6:35 pm | Comment

which video clip?

June 22, 2005 @ 6:46 pm | Comment

Echo, if you go to my earlier post on Shengyou, there’s a link to an amazingly violent video clip of the fighting, from the Washington Post.

June 22, 2005 @ 7:49 pm | Comment

Just so everyone knows, I feel spectacularly crummy tonight and won’t post anymore. Please use the open thread below general comments; I’ll put up a new one tomoprrow.

June 22, 2005 @ 7:52 pm | Comment

yeah, I know the washington post video. but you think that’s really the one they showed on tv in beijing?

June 22, 2005 @ 8:34 pm | Comment

Dear Richard and readers,

I know that I vowed never to contribute to this site again, but I am making this one exception, not to comment, but merely to alert readers to a very important and relevant article about the plight of China’s peasantry – an article which I consider to be essential reading. The article I’m referring to is actually a review of a very important study by Chen Guidi and Wu Chuntao, titled “A Survey of Chinese Peasants.” The reviewer, Yang Lian, actually reaches the conclusion that “the exploitation of the peasantry is a deliberate policy choice on the part of the Chinese authorities.”

Anybody interested in the plight of Chinese peasants ought to read either the study itself, or Yang Lian’s review, which can be found on the New Left Review website:

Just scroll down to the book reviews, and you will see it.

The study, incidentally, which was a best seller here on the mainland, is now being suppressed.

Readers might also be interested in the article on Taiwanese nationalism, also published this issue of New Left Review (one of the most intelligent academic journals in the world today!)

Best regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

June 22, 2005 @ 9:35 pm | Comment

The NLR article is completely suspect because of the ending paragraph concerning the lawsuit. The author wrote: “In March 2005 they were found guilty and given heavy fines.” This is delusionary. No verdict has been announced as of this time, even though it was due in August 2004. Details about that trial is at:
The last action is an open letter in March 2005 from their lawyer about this delay.

as for the assertion that “the exploitation of the peasantry is a deliberate policy choice on the part of the Chinese authorities”, the reviewer can hold his/her own opinions, but this is definitely not the opinion of the two authors themselves. see for example the translation of chapter 30 of that book about wen jiabao:

June 23, 2005 @ 3:59 am | Comment

I don’t know if what I saw was exactly the same as what the Washington Post had, but I have no reason to doubt the authenticity of what I saw here on TV. I only wish I could remember which channel…. definitely not CCTV, surprising as that may sound…. I also wish I had paid a bit more attention to the whole report. Oh well.

June 23, 2005 @ 5:16 am | Comment

the wash post stuff was riot footage. so if it was of the actual riot in progress it’s likely the same stuff. I thought you might be talking about some sort of arrest video.

eswn, if you pop back in….don’t suppose there’s any chance you plan on making your site searchable? would be very useful for researching back stories, your archived stuff is a pretty long scroll

June 23, 2005 @ 6:31 am | Comment

I translated the intro to that study on my website – although eswn has much more than I do – anyway my impression of the authors from the intro and what else I’ve read is that they aren’t accusing the CCP – they are quite moderate and basically supportive of the high level CCP efforts, but are extremely critical of low-level corruption.

June 23, 2005 @ 6:41 am | Comment

Why has mark sworn off the peking duck? I think I came too recently to know. if it’s just one argument that he has with richard, can’t they just agree to disagree and move on? it’s not like any of us are polititicians or hold any real power in the world. (well, bingfeng might, being a businessman, and for that matter – sorry if I’ve offended any of you who do have real power)

No power here anyway. I just write my senators letters, vote, and dish out money to charities.

June 23, 2005 @ 6:43 am | Comment

Laowai, too early for me too but I heard a Richard mention a few snippets and it appeared to have something to do Mark posting something, Richard “exposing” him (Richard’s words) and Mark threatening a lawsuit.

Apologies all round if that is either only part of the story or incorrect. I remember so clearly because I was so surprised that it could come to lawsuits being threatened!

Laowai speaks sense however, life is far too short to bear grudges. Let’s everyone move on and forget the past is my general attitude to these sort of things.

June 23, 2005 @ 7:30 am | Comment

echo: the eswn blog is now searchable via the google button at the bottom of the blog page. google is usually within a day or so from the most recent post.

June 23, 2005 @ 8:07 am | Comment

am I deleriously blind or was that not there this afternoon? either way, gracious thanks kind sir.

aah, perhaps because I was looking in the archive to search the archive…

June 23, 2005 @ 10:52 am | Comment

echo: you are sound and sane. the search box was added after i read your comment. google has always spidered the blog; it was only a question of whether i make it easier for people.

June 23, 2005 @ 11:36 am | Comment

wow I feel powerful, like a superhero even. albeit with some wimpy powers, ask and you shall recieve girl.

eswn, the bow deepens. many thanks.

June 23, 2005 @ 8:11 pm | Comment

Echo, it was most certainly riot footage. That’s all I remember of it, sorry.

June 24, 2005 @ 5:56 am | Comment

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