China: Around The Nation

Chinese police hit back at claims of misconduct in demolition fracas

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 31 July, 2016, 5:25pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 August, 2016, 2:05pm

Police in central China have denied claims of misconduct over an allegedly violent dispute between students and a demolition crew in Zhengzhou, Henan province, last week, mainland media report.

Footage was posted online purportedly showing a police officer stopping a student from using his mobile phone to film the incident.

It came just days after the Ministry of Public Security explicitly said members of the public could record law-enforcement officers involved in social unrest to help keep police in check in controversial cases.

Police were called to the Zhengzhou Management Academy of Enterprises with Foreign Investment on Tuesday after the demolition crew started removing the school’s front gate and knocking down some of its buildings in Xushui county, Shanghai-based news site reported.

Students and teachers then came to blows with the crew, the report said.

In an online statement that has since been deleted, the school said the campus was built in 2004 with a 30-year land lease agreement with a village commission. But a local government plan later earmarked the area for other development and the commission ordered the school to move.

In the online footage, the officer yells at the student, orders him to stop recording and wrestles with the student when the orders are ignored, according to the report. Several others pull the two apart.

The 28-second video was widely viewed online, with many commenters question the officer’s strong-armed response to recording police activities.

In a lengthy statement, Xushui police said they were called to the scene after some students allegedly attacked a demolition vehicle and severely injured the driver.

Police tried to take away one of the suspects, an 18-year-old student “Li”, amid resistance from school staff, students and villagers.

Another student, the one shown in the video and identified by his surname Wei, verbally abused officers and repeatedly ignored police warnings.

Police denied the officer tried to prevent Wei from recording the incident but said Wei was a suspect in the alleged attack on the driver.

The confrontation lasted for more than an hour and police failed to take away the suspects, the statement said.

Police said they were looking Li, Wei and a third suspect, a 17-year-old student surnamed Shi.