Unfounded rumor sends local crowd into frenzy

By Zheng Caixiong (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-06-13 08:52
Large Medium Small

GUANGZHOU - The government of Zengcheng, a suburban city of Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, has sent working groups to villages, factories and residential communities to clarify the rumor about a clash between security personnel and a pregnant street vendor.

Meanwhile, Ye Niuping, mayor of Zengcheng, urged local residents not to spread concocted rumors.

"The city government has made great efforts to tell local residents the truth about the clash by sending special working groups to visit local factories and households," Ye told a news conference in Guangzhou on Sunday.

The clash took place in Dadun village of Xintang township on Friday night.

Wang Lianmei, a pregnant woman, and her husband Tang Xuecai had a fierce quarrel and later clashed with the village's security personnel, who thought the couple had illegally occupied the village's road to sell goods at about 9:30 pm on Friday.

Wang, 20, and Tang, 28, come from Kaijiang county, Sichuan province.

Wang fell to the ground during the clash, after which several police cars and an ambulance were immediately sent to the site.

After mediation, Wang and Tang agreed to stop selling goods in the street and Wang was taken to a hospital by the ambulance at 10:35 pm. However, more than 100 people gathered at the scene to prevent Wang from being sent to the hospital for examination, Ye told media.

Some of them used bottles, bricks and stones to attack the police officers.

Damage was done to three police cars, the ambulance, many private cars, a bank's ATMs and other public property.

And at 3 am on Saturday, more than 100 people gathered at the scene again to use stones and bricks to attack police officers, who were investigating the case and clearing up the scene, after rumors held that Wang had been seriously injured while her husband had been killed by police.

The case was finally brought under control after police had later detained 25 suspects for further investigation.

At one stage the incident had attracted more than 1,000 onlookers.

"The case was just an ordinary clash between street vendors and local public security people but was used by a handful of people who wanted to cause trouble," said Ye.

"Wang and her fetus remained intact in the clash after a thorough examination in hospital, and no death or injuries have been reported in this case."

Xu Zhibiao, Zengcheng's Party chief, arrived at Zengcheng People's Hospital to see Wang on Saturday morning. Xu, who brought Wang a basket of fruit, said he hoped she would take her time to recuperate in the hospital.

Guangzhou police have set up a special task force to investigate the case and have promised to punish anyone who has violated laws in the clash.

Tang said he was satisfied with the government's treatment of the case.

"Both my wife and her baby are healthy," Tang said.

Gao Fengjuan, a Guangzhou white-collar worker, said relevant government departments had quickly responded to the case and settled it properly.

"Police and relevant departments should have the ability to handle any breaking mass events and quickly let the public know the truth," she added.

China Daily

(China Daily 06/13/2011 page4)