Riot erupts over one-child rule

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 September, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 September, 1997, 12:00am

Villagers blaming the one-child policy for the death of a woman clashed with police in Guangdong, leaving at least one officer injured.

The trouble erupted in the town of Changbo in Gaozhou city, 270 kilometres southwest of Guangzhou late on Friday, said a government official.

'In the evening, after it got dark, these people started to throw stones at a policeman,' he said.

There were several dozen protesters, most of whom were friends and relatives of the woman, who died on Thursday night.

The policeman was hit in the head, and the authorities sent in reinforcements to disperse the protesters, the official said. Paramilitary People's Armed Police in full riot gear were deployed in the town of 58,000 to suppress the unrest.

About 20 remained on patrol in case of further trouble, he said.

The clash - one of several in recent months - happened as officials began quarterly checks to enforce the one child per family rule.

Similar protests were said to have erupted a few months ago in neighbouring Caojiang town.

Relatives of the dead woman, who was in her 30s and had one child, blamed her death on an intra-uterine contraceptive device she had been given by family planning officials.

The woman had not been forced to use the contraceptive, the official said, dismissing newspaper reports in Hong Kong.

'She had pneumonia, liver disease and inflammation of the gall bladder . . . but somehow people seemed to think it had to do with the contraceptive,' the official said.

Another official from Caojiang said the woman had a heart problem and some 'trouble-makers' used her death to 'stir up trouble'.

'The situation is not that serious. Some villagers took the body of the woman to the government office to demand compensation,' the official, who gave his last name as Chen, said.

'No one was arrested and no one was beaten up,' he said, adding that Caojiang had not faced similar unrest, as had been reported.

'The autumn family planning checks only started a few days ago. There have been no protests so far although we did have some problems in the summer.'