Villagers surround town hall demanding the release of arrestees
By Xin Fei
The Epoch Times Sep 28, 2007
Nearly two hundred villagers from Taiping Village surrounded the Hongpai Building demanding the release release of 12 villagers arrested for traveling to Beijing to petition the government (Huang Qi/Tianwang)
Nearly 200 residents of Taiping Village gathered to protest the arrest of twelve villagers who traveled to Beijing to petition for redress of injustices.
On September 24, nearly 200 villagers from Taiping Village, Chendu City, Sichuan Province surrounded the Hongpai Building belonging to the local township government. The villagers were demanding the release of 12 local residents who had been arrested after travelling to Beijing to appeal. Three of the villagers have been released. Nine villagers remain in police custody.
Chinese citizens customarilly travel to Beijing during meetings of the National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (NCCCP) to petition the Congress for redress of wrongs committed by local governments. This is the only method available to Chinese citizens who are victim of government malfeasance.
However, the Beijing regime does not welcome these petitions, seeing them as social disturbances, and blaming the petitioners rather than corrupt local officials.
Villagers Yuan Zhongli and Wu Deyu told The Epoch Times that they appreciate the support they have received from journalists and friends inside and outside of China. The villagers expressed their hope that continued support will result in the release of the nine villagers still remaining in police custody.
Yuan said that the villagers had surrounded the township government office building. Their demands included speaking with the general secretary of the office Yang Ping and identification of the locations of the nine villagers now in police custody. After their meeting, the general secretary promised that she would respond to the villager's demands within 24 hours.
"Yang said it was the Beijing Public Security Bureau that caught those people," said Yuan. "The township officials don't know this arrest. Tomorrow Beijing authorities will respond to the villagers. The township government needs to investigate this incident. Today there was no response at all. Tomorrow we need to go again. We are all very worried. No ones know what is going on. No one violated the law, but they were arrested. All of us are praying. As long as they do not release the villagers, we will continue to demonstrate."
According to Wu Dengyu, forty-five villagers from Taiping Village went to Beijing to appeal as a group. The majority of the appellants were arrested by the Chinese authorities and escorted back home. Eighteen of the original forty-five arrested were released on September 21 after demonstrations. The remainder of the arrested villagers are still missing.
"When they arrived in Beijing, they were arrested," said Wu. "This time it was very serious. The police from Chengdu arrested the appellants in Beijing and escorted them back to their village. The vehicles that were used to escort them were completely closed. Two or three armed policemen guarded each villager. During the trip back home, the appellants attempted to escape. They were beaten by the policemen. Later they were taken to an undisclosed detention center in Chengdu and forced to write letters of admission."
Huang Qi, publisher of the June 4 Tianwang Web site has paid close attention to this case. Huang told The Epoch Times that hundreds of appellants had surrounded the township government building demanding the release of the detained villagers who had appealed to Beijing. The Chinese communist regime's action against appellants from Chengdu is similar to those occurring in other cities throughout China. Strict measures are being taken against those who appeal in Beijing during the 17th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
"At the same time, after many years of struggle the farmers have finally realized that 'opposing generates status,' they now understand that only when they are united in their fight against the CCP will they be successful," said Huang. "Therefore, they have changed the traditional format of self rights protection and have started a united struggle that benefits all."
Many appellants believe that the CCP is applying such high pressure against them as a face-saving public relations effort before the convention of the 17th National Congress of the CCP and prior to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.