December 11, 2005

Chinese Officials Attempting to Pay Hush Money to Families of Murdered Protesters

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:01 am

Alternate title: Well, at least they’ve found a use for their currency reserves.

Item: Chinese officials reportedly offering money to conceal shooting deaths (HT Riding Sun):

Residents of a southern Chinese village near Hong Kong where police opened fire on demonstrators described a tense standoff in the area on Saturday with thousands of armed troops patrolling the perimeter and blocking anyone from leaving.

Frightened villagers said they were either hunkering down at home or arguing with police who are refusing to return the dead to their families.

A Hong Kong newspaper quoted villagers accusing Chinese officials of trying to cover up the killings on Tuesday in Dongzhou, a village in Guangdong province.

Residents said police opened fire on a crowd of thousands protesting against inadequate compensation offered by the government for land to be used for a new wind power plant. Up to 20 were killed, villagers said, while some said dozens more were missing.

….. Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post newspaper on Saturday quoted Dongzhou villagers as saying authorities were trying to cover up the killings by offering families money to give up the bodies of the dead.

“They offered us a sum but said we would have to give up the body,” an unidentified relative of one slain villager, 31-year-old Wei Jin, was quoted as saying. “We are not going to agree.”

Hong Kong reverted to Chinese control in 1997, but the former British colony maintains a high degree of press freedom. Its proximity to Dongzhou gives local reporters good access to events there.

I may be wrong, but the tactic bribing victims’ families so they can bury their murdered loved ones in exchange for their silence seems to be a first for a “modern” totalitarian regime. They must be getting soft: Stalin or Mao probably would have just killed threatened to kill them all.
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UPDATE: Pajamas Media is on this.

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