CHINA> Regional
One dead, six injured in S China village clash
Updated: 2009-03-25 19:12

DONGFANG - One villager was killed and six were injured in the latest clash between two feuding villages in the southernmost province of Hainan, sources said Wednesday.

The fight happened at around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday between several hundred residents of Baoshang and Gancheng villages in Dongfang City.

A 32-year-old  Baoshan resident named Zhang Ji died after being stabbed in the head and arms during the fight, said Qin Guangxin, a doctor with Dongfang City Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Three residents in Gancheng and three in Baoshang are injured.

Police and local officials have been trying to calm the residents.

Gancheng has had a troubled relationship with Baoshang over a land dispute for almost eighty years and there have been frequent brawls between residents of both villages -- each with a population of about 10,000. The latest clash has been one of the most violent clashes in recent decades as tensions escalate.

The clash came two days after hundreds of residents of Gancheng Village smashed vehicles and set fire to the government building and police station in Gancheng Township, in protest against the failure of local government and police in maintaining public security.

Gancheng residents have been unhappy with local police because four of their children so far this year have been attacked by unidentified people, whom Gancheng residents believed were from the feuding Baoshang. Police have made little progresses in these cases.

A middle school brawl between two students from the villages became the last straw and resulted in Monday's protest, said Fu Bo, chief publicity official of Dongfang City.

In Tuesday's clash, five villagers from Gancheng went to the Baoshang Village at 11:30 p.m. and set fire to a hotel and residences, said a source on the condition of anonymity. Baoshang residents put out the fire of the residences before they spread and beat up one of the villagers from Gancheng. He was seriously injured in the attack.

The four-story hotel on the border of the two villages was destroyed by the fire.