RealNews

China Responds to Ethnic Unrest with Blockade and News Blackout

Deadly ethnic clashes between Hui Muslims and Han Chinese in central China were met with a military blockade and a news blackout as officials attempted to curb the unrest and cover it up. Despite the heavy presence of paramilitary police in Zhongmou, the rural county in Henan province where a sudden outburst of violence killed at least seven, possibly many more, local residents remained uneasy. “We don’t dare go out in the fields to work,” said a peasant woman in Nanren village, which is predominantly Muslim and has been a flashpoint in the riots that began Thursday and were only controlled Sunday. Farmers from Nanren clashed with their neighbors in Nanwei, which is mostly Han Chinese, after tempers flared over a traffic dispute. As well as the dead, 42 were injured, state-run Xinhua news agency said. Locals disputed the official toll, saying as many as 20 had lost their lives as ethnic animosities flared across this county of rice fields fed by the water of the Yellow River. Eighteen people were arrested, according to Xinhua, which carried a brief report only on its English-language service, which targets a mainly foreign readership. None of the Chinese media mentioned the unrest and reports of the incident were blacked out when broadcast by the BBC and CNN television networks. “All the 18 detained are Han Chinese,” a teacher at a Nanren elementary school told AFP. “They were held because they killed a Hui child who was on his way to school.” On Tuesday, Nanren resembled a ghost town, as police officers and communist party leaders patrolled the streets to prevent new disturbances, locals said. The entire area was sealed off by uniformed members of the People’s Armed Police, many of them shipped in aboard air-conditioned tourist buses.Full Story

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