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Good riots and bad riots

China has given its tacit approval to violent riots over the past two days in which angry mobs attacked the Japanese embassy and Japanese businesses.

But don't think China has suddenly embraced public protests in general. Chinese cops still break up demonstrations when they feel like it — for example, when the rioters are angry not at Japan, but at China itself. And sometimes they even kill a few people in the process. Reuters reports:

BEIJING, April 11 (Reuters) - Thousands of villagers rioted in eastern China injuring dozens of police after two women among about 200 elderly anti-pollution protesters were killed during efforts by police to disperse them, villagers and officials said on Monday.

The rioting in Huankantou village, Huangtianfan township in the wealthy coastal province of Zhejiang, on Sunday coincided with anti-Japanese protests in China's capital Beijing and the southern cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen over the weekend.

Angry club-wielding villagers clashed with police in riot gear, overturned police cars and hurled rocks at policemen holed up in a local high school, villagers and local officials said by telephone. The women were protesting against pollution from nearby chemical factories.
I wonder why Beijing didn't just ask the protesters to "keep calm and sane", as it did when Japanese targets were under attack.

Danwei says it looks like Chinese officials actually provided special buses to bring protesters to the anti-Japan riots.

And The Horses Mouth says the police cracked down on an anti-Japanese protest in Chengdu, signalling that China may be trying to stop things from getting out of hand.

The New York Times picks up the story, two days later.




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