Fearing for health and safety, residents of Teng’ao town protest a large-scale garbage incineration plant close to town. People protest, authorities crack down.
Today, in Teng’ao town, which is under the jurisdiction of county-level Haicheng city, in China’s northeastern province of Liaoning, police officers are guarding every intersection and special forces are on-duty round-the-clock. There are even plainclothes officers who conduct stakeouts in residential areas – all because residents protested the government’s installation of an incineration plant too close to town.
According to residents, regulations dictate that facilities, like, say, a garbage incineration plant, be built at least 20 kilometers away from residential areas. But local government officials discarded the rule and built the garbage plant roughly two kilometers from town, leaving residents, rightly, worried that it would cause severe air and water pollution, as well as endanger the health of town residents. To fight for their safety, the people of Teng’ao town petitioned the government, requesting the plant be relocated. Their request, however, was denied.
Video: The scene of people marching and protesting
Naturally, a protest of that size created panic among government officials, who, according to sources, had the provincial government gradually transfer nearly 3,000 police officers from Liaoning cities of Shenyang, Anshan, Benxi, Dalian, Panjin, Yingkou, and other places, to come to Teng’ao town and suppress the protesters.
Video: The authorities mobilized large numbers of police officers to suppress the masses
According to eyewitnesses, one villager was gang-beaten by three to five police officers. After he was lifted into a police car, the police continued to assault him viciously. One pregnant woman was also beaten, apparently for no reason. She showed signs of a miscarriage and was sent to the hospital for emergency treatment. One woman was knocked to the ground by the police and was unable to get back up.
A woman used her mobile phone to record the scene. The police promptly ordered her to delete the footage. When the woman didn’t comply, she was beaten. Another man was also arrested during the conflict. The police forcibly confiscated the man’s cell phone and ordered him to delete his social media WeChat app. The police also warned him that when he is out on bail, he is not allowed to participate in protests anymore.
Video: Police beat up the protesters
Besides, the police also set up blockades at every intersection leading to Teng’ao town, prohibiting outsiders from entering. This move sparked public outrage. Drivers of local public buses and private cars drove people free-of-charge to Teng’ao to witness the truth. The police tried hard to stop this from happening.
Reportedly, the local people have previously sought help from the media to expose this matter, but no reporters dared to come and cover the story.
The authorities were seeking to legalize their atrocities. Government personnel threatened that every merchant in the town must agree to the building of the garbage incineration plant and sign a commitment statement that promised they wouldn’t participate in rights-protection activities, lest they lose their business licenses. And many merchants did, in fact, have them revoked for refusing to sign.
Other members of the public were no exception. They, too, have been subjected to home visits by the authorities. The authorities have gone door to door, ordering people to sign and agree to the construction of the garbage incineration plant. At present, local residents say, people are arrested every day for protesting against the government and are forced to sign their names.
Reported by Piao Junying