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Military Troops Quell Unrest in Southern Chinese City

Since June 10, the township of Xintang in Zengcheng, a county-level city in Guangzhou nicknamed "Jeans Town" for its apparel manufacturing industry, has fallen into chaos after local police bullied a pregnant woman from Sichuan and pushed her to the ground. Although it was confirmed that the woman was unharmed and did not suffer a suspected miscarriage, protesting migrant workers from Sichuan Province held massive demonstrations out of their anger over local authorities’ unfair treatment and blackmail by law enforcement, a typical manifestation of the widespread social injustice in China. As many as 50,000 protesters attacked and burned government buildings and police vehicles, resulting five deaths and nearly one hundred wounded. The local press reported that nearly 150 migrant workers who were at the demonstration were placed in police custody.

On Sunday (June 12), authorities mobilized a division in the Guangzhou Military Region and deployed nearly 30 combat trucks and 1,500 riot police to quell the unrest. A curfew and military control of the town will be in place for the whole week. As of June 14, the Internet, fax, and phone lines have been cut off. The authorities notified local people not to “cook up stories and spread rumors.”

Source: Voice of America, June 14, 2011