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Up to 30,000 took part in Guizhou mass action
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Up to 30,000 people took part in the mass action in Weng'an county of Guizhou province on Saturday, torching government buildings and smashing and burning cars.

In its latest update, Xinhua said yesterday that trouble began when about 300 people, protesting against the authenticity of a police report on a 17-year-old girl's death, gathered at the county government and public security bureau around 3 pm.

The girl, Li Shufen, was a student of No 3 High School in Weng'an, and her body was found floating in a river on June 22. The girl was from a rural township and lived in a rented apartment in Weng'an.

"She was a quiet and nice child. She seldom hung out or played around. I don't think she killed herself," said her landlord, Liu Jinxue, who helped pull out her body from the river.

The police report said it was a case of drowning, but her family members and kin alleged that some local officials' relatives had murdered her.

Deputy county chief Xiao Song insisted that preliminary investigation had found no connection between her death and the officials' relatives.

This enraged the crowd further, and more people joined in the protest, eventually charging into the public security bureau building, witnesses said. Some people were carrying banners that read: "Return justice to the people."

Police used tear-gas shells to disperse the crowd.

Order had been restored by yesterday morning, but about 100 armed policemen were patrolling the area.

The provincial government has formed a work team with 10 criminal investigators and forensic experts to re-investigate the death. Police said 14 people had been detained.

(China Daily July 1, 2008)

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