The Long Story About Huaxi/Huankantou

The most extensive and thorough investigative work about the Huaxi/Huankantou riot was made by Phoenix Weekly (via Boxun).  I have translated the long report below.  Please be mindful that while Phoenix TV is based in Hong Kong, it is legally receivable by common Chinese people with access to cable and satellite television, and Phoenix Weekly can be found on the Internet.  I call this piece of investigative reporting 'extensive and thorough' because they spoke to everyone that they possibly can, including the villagers, the bus drivers, the funeral home director, the nurses at the hospital to which the injured were sent, the flacks from the propaganda department, and so on. 

On April 10, at Huaxi town in Dongyang City, Zhejiang Province, more than 3,000 public security bureau, municipal administration and law enforcement personnel were surrounded and assaulted by more than 20,000 citizens after a tense confrontation.  As a result, a deputy mayor and a police station director were severely injured, and dozens of law enforcement vehicles were vandalized and seized.  Many tear gas canisters, batons, rubber truncheons, steel helmets and uniforms were 'confiscated' by the villagers and subsequently exhibited to the public.

Although the mainland media were instructed not to report on the matter, the incident was rapidly disseminated in Zhejiang.  The people called it a peasant rebellion, the Hong Kong media called it a "large-scale riot" but the local government said that "the removal of illegal structures in Dongyang city was obstructed" because "the desire of the citizens for environmental protection was used by a small minority of individuals with ulterior motives."

On April 10, a mass event took place in Huaxi town, Dongyang city, Zhejiang province.  This news was rapidly transmitted from the local chat rooms, but the local government immediately blocked the chat rooms and other channels.  The local media were also ordered not to report on this case.  Yet, foreign media and Hong  Kong newspapers were able to report on this incident through the chat room information sources.

According to Oriental Daily in Hong Kong, "There was a large-scale riot in Dongyang town, Zhejiang province on April 10.  Dozens of people were killed and thousands of people were injured.  Hundreds of police vehicles were overturned or vandalized.  Tens of thousands of citizens came in support.  The tense situation continues."  Another Hong Kong newspaper reported: "A riot broke out in Dongyang city, Zhejiang province.  An old lady protesting against environmental pollution was killed by a police car.  Angry villagers arrived and fought with the anti-riot police and security forces."  Reuters quoted informed sources: "Two women died during the suppression.  They were run over by public security bureau vehicles."

Afterwards, there were some local reports.  A newspaper in Dongyang city carried this headline: "City effort to clear out illegal structures was blocked by the masses"; a media description in Jinhua city said: "The desire for environment protection was used by a minority of people with ulterior motives; mass event took place in Huaxi town, Dongyang City."

Four years ago, our reporter visited Huaxi town and got to know several townspeople.  As soon as the incident took place, our reporter received the information from them.  At the checkpoints at the principal entrances into Dongyang, outsiders were scrutinized very carefully.  The Phoenix Weekly reporter was able to enter Huaxi town with the assistance of friendly villagers, and conducted interviews, took photographs and obtained documents through different means.  During this period, a foreign female reporter had been "detained" for having obtained related materials without the "requisite application" and some villagers were asked to "discuss" with officials about having been interviewed.

According to the in-field information obtained by Phoenix Weekly, the outline of the incident is as follows: When the local government attempted to remove structures erected by the villagers, they were surrounded by the villagers.  As the two sides faced off against each other, the situation deteriorated and went out of control, resulting in a large-scale riot.

The villagers erected the road blocks and the bamboo sheds in order to shut down the chemical industrial plants.  A villager said: "The chemical industrial plants in the Huaxi Chemical Industrial Park had seriously polluted the local environment.  We have petitioned many times without getting any solution.  Afterwards, we erected more than a dozen road blocks and bamboo sheds at the exit from Huangshan Village, the exit from Huaxi Number One Village, the exit from the Hutou Village and the exit from the Huaxi Village.  The elderly people in the village kept guard to prevent factory vehicles from bringing raw materials in and finished products out."

On the night of April 9, the local town government sent more than a dozen law enforcement officers to the exit from Huaxi Village.  They said that it was going to be windy and raining that night, and they asked the elders to leave the sheds.  The elders did not obey.  According to a villager who slept in a shed that night: "Somewhere between 11pm of April 9 and 1am on April 10, a small group of law enforcement workers made two or three feints.  The elders set off firecrackers, and the nearby villagers ran over only to find that the law enforcement workers had stopped their actions."

Afterwards, the local government deployed a large number of police and law enforcement people to back up their clean-up effort.  According to a villager eyewitness: "After 3am in the morning of April 10, the first caravan of government vehicles arrived; after 4am, more than 100 vehicles arrived, including police cars and public buses."  Another villager nightwatcher said: "Around 415am, it was getting light.  When we saw the caravan, we set off the firecrackers immediately."  She said: "When the elderly nightwatchers saw the size of the force, they were trembling from fear."

The Huaxi Junior Secondary School is situated between the Chemical Industrial Park and Huaxi Village, and the bamboo sheds were on the west side of the school.  The eyewitness claimed: "The police wanted to park the vehicles on the school grounds.  The guard refused to open the gate, but the police got it open by force."  Afterwards, 48 sedans and buses entered the sports field while more than 50 were parked by the side of the road.  According to many villagers, there were 8 ambulances and four morgue hearses.  But according to the dispatcher Mr. Liu from the Dongyang Funeral Home, they sent out one hearse because a villager had died from normal causes.

According to a villager who hurried over after hearing the sound of the firecrackers: "At the location where the government workers were taking down the bamboo sheds, a row of police officers stood in a square formation with shields to prevent the large number of villagers from entering the immediate area."  The government officials set up a command post where the principal leaders from Dongyang City directed the action.  According to many villager eyewitnesses, "The law enforcement personnel included public security bureau, municipal administration and security people, plus other personnel hired for pay from units in nearby towns and villages, for a total of 3,500 people."

The villager eyewitness said, "When the government officials saw that more and more villagers were arriving, they began to use scissors and watermelon knives to take down the bamboo sheds."  At the time, there were isolated incidents in which rocks were thrown in protest.  The villager said: "We were all unarmed.  On one hand, we were scared; on the other hand, we were also self-restrained.  But more and more villagers came, and there 20,000 to 30,000 later.  We were many, and the government officials realized that it would be troublesome if they continued to say.  So they withdrew quickly."

At the time, some villagers on the outer ring sat down on the road to prevent the government officials from leaving.  The villager said: "At the scene where the sheds were being taken down, some elders laid down on the ground to prevent the government vehicles from leaving.  Suddenly, the news came out that an elder had been rolled over by a vehicle.  Then the crowd got emotional."  Another villager said, "I personally saw two wounded elders being tossed into the funeral hearse.  Facing the pressing crowd, some policemen began to use rubber truncheons to lash at the crowd.  Some uniformed individuals shouted, 'The clean-up must be done even if people have to die.'  Several villagers were shoved into the polluted ditch nearby."

The villager said, "By that time, we were very angry.  So we started to pick up rocks to throw at the government workers."  At this time, things got out of control.  "The police began to use tear gas.  Tears came out of our eyes ceaselessly;'."  According to claims, only one to two hundred law enforcement personnel were involved in the battle against one to two thousand villagers.  The villager said, "They started to flee.  Some were cornered in the school and could not escape.  We used rocks and the schoolroom chairs to bash them.  Quite a few law enforcement personnel were beaten bloodied and motionless."

Amidst the chaos, the commanding officials left in their sedans.  Most of the buses and police cars were toppled, their windows broken, their tires slashed and their engines destroyed, including the BMW owned by a certain town cadre.  The red envelopes containing the 200 yuan payments for the law enforcement workers were robbed, along with some official documents.  The eyewitness said, "All law enforcement officers who wore police uniforms or government-issue raincoats were chased and beaten by the villagers.  In order to escape, some law enforcement officers discarded their batons, rubber truncheons, shields, knives, helmets and uniforms."

When Phoenix Weekly got to the scene, the bamboo sheds have not been removed.  A large number of 'confiscated trophies' were exhibited: police steel helmets, tear gas canisters, police batons, rubber truncheons, watermelon knives, scissors, police uniforms, etc.  Between April 10 and 15, the 48 vandalized vehicles were parked inside the Huaxi Junior Secondary School grounds.  Many 'tourists' from the surrounding areas came to "sightsee."

Based upon the many efforts by Phoenix Weekly to confirm or deny, no villagers died in this incident.  About thirty or forty were injured, including more than a dozen elderly persons.  According to some villagers, they could not make calls from their mobile telephones during the incident.  Our reporter spoke to Vice-President Huang at the Dongyang City Telecommunications Department Business Management Office, and he said that the cause could be "too many people wanted to make calls at the same time, so the system was overloaded and went into paralysis."

Although some police personnel claimed that "two law enforcement officers died when they lost too much blood during the incident" but the reporter was unable to verify or reject this piece of information.  When the reporter went to Dongyang City People's Hospital and the Dongyang City Chinese Medicine Hospital, it was found out that about 140 persons were admitted, most of whom were law enforcement officers including a deputy mayor and a police station director.  A small number of citizens were admitted as well, and their medical expenses were paid for by the government.

When the reporter entered room 40 on the seventh floor of the People's Hospital to attempt to interview the police station director, the effort was refused.  The director who had a big knife wound on this forehead said, "I took part in the action.  I was wounded.  You go ask the others."  A relative or colleague who was with him said, "He is not a people's hero.  He is a people's 'idiot.'"  According to the nurse, the director suffered multiple wounds, including severed leg tendons and damaged nerves."

A villager eyewitness said, "After the incident took place, the villagers at the scene calmed down, and rendered aid to the injured police officers."  According to information, several injured police officers "expressed their gratitude" by leaving "confessions" for the villagers.

According to a written document obtained by Phoenix Weekly which included the palm print and identification number of a certain traffic policeman: "I work in a certain traffic police squad.  This morning, I received notice to be on duty at Huaxi Village.  This was arranged by the division, and I had no idea what it was going to be.  When I got to Huaxi, I found out what it was.  Fourteen members of our squad came, and there were more than 3,000 law enforcement personnel from Dongyang City.  The municipal government arranged for them to come out here.  While in line of duty, some were injured by the citizens, some were injured by rubber truncheons and I was rescued by the citizens.  Some of the citizens were crushed and beaten to death."

According to information, "most of the law enforcement were assembled in the name of fighting fire.  Some were told that they were hiking up a mountain.  The defensive weapons were issued on the way over."  There is another claim: "When the law enforcement officers found out about the nature of the operation, some of them were very reluctant but they were made to do it; inside their hearts, they were with the villagers."

According to a "force deployment diagram" prepared by the government beforehand and obtained by Phoenix Weekly through special channels, a total of 1,515 persons were deployed around the area of the bamboo sheds: the first group had 300 people, the second group had 200 people, the third group had 100 people, the fourth group had 50 people, the fifth group had 50 people, the sixth group had 50 people, the evidence collection team had 10 people, the propaganda team had 35 people, the team to process the citizens had 390 people, the removal team had 90 people, the medical team had 40 people; at the command center at the Huaxi paper factory, there was a team of 10 guards and a mobile unit of 190 people. According to information, "the government increased the size of the operations staff later."

There were several other "locations of obstacles diagram" and "direction diagram" that showed in detail the landscape, and how the cars should enter, park and depart.

Phoenix Weekly also obtained the list of all the drivers of the vehicles used in this operation, their contact information and their vehicle license numbers.  When we interviewed these drivers, their replies were: "I am with the transportation department.  The department told us drive there.  I don't know anything."  "I found out what it was about only after we got there."  "I work for a transportation company.  We suffered a great deal of damage this time.  The damaged vehicle is being repaired right now.  We don't what the compensation will be."

The root of the Huaxi incident lies in the local chemical industrial pollution.  When Phoenix Weekly was interviewing people, we saw these slogans: "Give me back my earth, I want to live; give me back my earth, I want to be healthy; give me back my earth, I want my children and grandchildren; give me back my earth, I want to eat; give me back my earth, I want my environment."  Or "Poison gas gets released, the people are crying, the corrupt officials get rich, the people suffer all their lives" signed "The People of China."

Huaxi town is located in the southwestern section of Dongyang City.  In 2003, Huashi town and Huangtianfan town were combined into the new Huaxi town with a population of 53,000.  The place was underneath a mountain by the water, and therefore had the reputation of being picture-perfect.  But these days, the mountain is no longer green and the water is no longer beautiful.  The fields can no longer be tilled because the crops won't grow any more.  Since 2001, the Huaxi government has been leasing out its land for the Huaxi Industrial Park.  Today, the park occupies 1,000 hectares of land with thirteen chemical industrial, printing and plastic corporations, of which 8 are chemical industrial plants.

According to local residents, "The chemical industrial and fertilizer plants emit massive amounts of waste gas and water with obnoxious and stinging smells.  When the weather is hot, the chemical gas does not disperse.  When it gets severe, children cannot open their eyes."  "An elderly lady at the bamboo shed once touched the chemical materials.  Her arm swelled up and she had to be treated at the hospital."  "In our village, we did not have dead fetuses before.  Within the last year, there has been five or six cases."  At the Huaxi Junior Secondary School and the Huaxi Elementary School which are only 300 to 400 meters away from the park, the teachers and students usually close the doors and windows when they are in class.

The villagers also said, "Due to the pollution, the crops won't grow.  Maize, rice and rape won't grow.  Some families harvested nothing.  The pine trees on the mountain don't grow buds anymore.  Fruit trees often yield only flowers but no fruits."  Wang Yinghun is a tree grower in Xishan Village and more than 10,000 of his trees have died in the past three years.  Green vegetables which use to cost only 0.20 yuan per jin now cost 1.50 yuan per jin.  Although the chemical industrial plants have ceased operations, the Phoenix Weekly reporter could still feel the pungent chemical odor when he went to take photographs inside the chemical industrial plants.  The factories were stacked with drums of chemical raw materials, numerous buckets and bottles with English-language labels and most of these items are marked with the poisonous "skull" sign.  As for the various waste water pools and the waste disposal stations that are constructed with hastily covered concrete service, the chemical test reports contains the words such as trifluralin (note: a carcinogenic herbicide) and TGIC.  According to information, all the factory workers are peasants hired from Guizhou, Anhui and Jiangxi provinces.

According to several "Land Lease Agreements" obtained by Phoenix Weekly, the landlord is Huaxi Village Number Five and the renters are the chemical industrial companies.  The renter will rent the park land for 30 years; during this period, the renter agrees to pay the landlord "800 jin per hectare of land in cash that is calculated by the amount needed to purchase the food from the local food department at the time."  According to feedback from the villagers, "When the agreement was signed, the village committee did not discuss with the village representatives; to date, the villagers have received compensation of only 120 yuan per person."

According to the villagers, "When the chemical industrial factories moved here, we went many times to petition the environment protection departments in Dongyang City, Jinhua City and Zhejiang province.  The provincial environmental protection department clearly told us that some of the chemical industrial factories have failed to comply with the related regulations; we have told the media many times about the pollution problem."  The villagers said, "Because the chemical industrial factories did not cease production, we even went to Beijing several times to complain to the national environmental protection department and to speak to Beijing reporters."

In 2001, Dongnong Chemical Industrial Company signed a land lease agreement with the Huaxi town government and Huaxi Village Number Five.  In September of the same year, Wang Hui went to a certain fertilizer company in Jin Hua City and obtained information about Dongnong.  Afterwards he wrote an open letter titled "Characterizing the Dongnong Company."  According to the copy obtained by Phoenix, "The Dongnong Company used to be the Dongnong Fertilizer factor and it used to be located on the east side of Luzhai Village in Wuxhu Town."  The company manufactured trifluralin, TGIC, Mancozeb (note: a fungicide) and other intermediary agents which generated a lot of waste water and products; the company was thrown out by the local villagers.

The document also claimed that when Dongnong wanted to move to Lizhai Caihu Village, they were also stopped by the local villagers.  Then they moved to Weishan Town Beita Village, where they faced opposition from the local villagers.  Instead, they attempted to haul the waste water back to their old address, but they were exposed by the local media.  The Zhejiang provincial governor Zhai Yuesong personally issued an order for the company to cease production.  Wang Hui and other villagers duplicated more 150 copies of this document and mailed it from Jinhua to Huaxi Village Number Five and nearby areas.  More than 600 villagers participated in a signature campaign.  Then Wang Yongfei and other villagers made 1,000 copies of this document.

In October of the same year, the police at Huangtianfan began to investigate the origin of this document, and told a certain villager named Wang to proceed to the station to be interviewed.  Wang told his fellow villagers that if he did not return in one hour, then they should ring the gongs and proceed to get him freed.  When Wang did not return by the time, the villagers set off but they saw Wang coming back on their way.  The group decided to proceed to the town anyway.  There, they saw the town committee secretary Xu eating and drinking in a restaurant, so the villagers dragged him out for an explanation.  On the way back to the Huaxi Chemical Industrial Park, the villagers clashed with the militia and caused minor injuries to Xu.  When the villagers arrived at the Park, they chased the factory workers out of their dormitories and destroyed certain equipment, causing more than 110,000 yuan in damages.

Afterwards, Wang Hui and eleven others were arrested.  According to a verdict sheet that Phoenix Weekly obtained from the Dongyang Criminal Court: in 2002, Wang  Hui was sentenced to three years for "gathering a crowd to disrupt social order"; Wang Yongfei and other villagers were convicted of the same crime and received sentences from one year to several months, with two of them getting suspended sentences.

The local villagers believe that the high profit margins of the chemical industrial enterprises and the interests of the local government caused their right to existence to be neglected and their speech rights to be deprived.  The villagers believe that there is collusion between enterprise owners and government officials, with some village cadres receiving the engineering contracts to build the factories.  When a certain village official's son got married, the enterprise managers all showed up to offer presents.  The propaganda department of Dongyang City has denied these rumors.  Director Chen told Phoenix Weekly, "These chemical industrial companies were brought in from the outside.  The city leaders value business investments and therefore they pay attention to these companies."  He said, "We don't understand the interest relationships mentioned in those rumors."

On March 15, it was reception day for the Dongyang City mayor.  But when the local villagers went to speak about the pollution problem, the leaders avoided them.  From March 20 on the villagers began to build a dozen bamboo sheds on the roads from the Huaxi Chemical Industrial Park to the various villages.  The sheds were guarded by elderly persons in the village and the roads were blocked.  The villagers demanded strongly that the chemical industrial and fertilizer plants must move.

The villagers said, "On March 28, more than one hundred law enforcement officers and town/village cadres burned the sheds down.  There were more than 6,000 yuan in donations collected from neighboring villages; either that money was lost in the fire or else it was confiscated.  We don't know what happened to it."  Afterwards, the villagers erected the bamboo sheds again, with the banner: "You don't care whether the people live or die, you arrest people, you beat people, you burn down the people's sheds, you steal the people's money."  During this time, some Wuyi merchants from the neighboring city supported the villagers by providing free bread and instant noodles.

On April 1, the Dongyang Municipal Government issued the "Four Opinions" and Document 26 (2005) which ordered the thirteen industrial enterprises in the Huaxi Industrial Park to stop production on April 2.

On April 5, the Huaxi part committee, the women's league, the senior citizens' committee and the handicapped persons' committee issued a joint document to "firmly struggle against the small number of illegal elements who want to disturb the normal social order and to actively persuade the minority of blind followers to change their attitudes."

On April 6, the Huaxi Town committee and government issued an "Open Letter To All Town Citizen" which says, "About the problem of certain Huaxi villages being inflamed by an extremely small number of persons with ulterior motives to assemble in a group to disrupt the normal social order at the Huaxi Industrial Park and surrounding area, the public security bureau has obtained a vast amount of evidence over a period of observation and investigation, and will initiate the arrests of certain persons who are suspected of engaging in illegal activities."  "We warn the small number of illegal elements to actively work with the government, or else all those who continue to create trouble and disrupt social order will be severely punished."

On April 7, the Dongyang City public security bureau issued this notice: "We order the masses who are staying at the roadway into the Huaxi Industrial Park to leave the scene immediately.  All obstacles (such as bamboo sheds and rocks) must be removed and all illegal activities must cease.  Otherwise, the government public security bureau will take steps to forcibly remove people and clear out the obstacles.  All those who obstruct official duties will bear the legal consequences."

On the same day, villager Wang Zhongfa was arrested by the local public security bureau.  On a document that his father provided to Phoenix Weekly, it was written: "My son Wang Zhongfa had visited Beijing and Hangzhou many times about the land requisition and environmental pollution problems.  Most recently, he is in Beijing on March 20 to ask for reporters to come and visit.  On April 5, he accompanied a reporter to collect information at the chemical industrial factory.  On April 7, we found out from the broadcast news that my son had been arrested by the public security bureau.  To date, the public security bureau has not notified the family why my son was arrested."  On April 10, the local government sent in law enforcement personnel to clear out the bamboo sheds and a clash took place.

So, do the companies in the industrial park meet the relevant environmental protection regulations?  And are their land leases legal?  Last year, when Zhejiang Online interviewed the Dongyang City Environment Protection Department about the Junhong Grease Company, the environment protection enforcement captain said, "This is supposed to be a grease production company.  But the boss changed the business area by getting into the re-processing of industrial waste.  During the illegal production process, a lot of hydrogen fluoride was produced.  The Dongyang City Environmental Protection Department determined that the gas was responsible for the dying of agricultural products and trees."  Afterwards, the Environmental Protection Department fined this company many times and ordered it to stop production, but the villagers said that this company is still continuing with production stealthily.

The head of the Dongyang Environmental Protection Department told Zhejiang Online: "Certain companies in the chemical industrial park, including Dongnong, wanted to save money.  So they ignored their environmental protection equipment and released contaminants directly into the air and the rivers."  Five other factories have failed environment protection quality tests, of which two continued to operate under the guise of "testing."  The other three are also operating stealthily.

After the incident occurred, Phoenix Weekly visited the Dongyang Environmental Protection Department.  The office of the director told us: "We have been told that we must have a unified voice, and so we will not hold interviews."  The Jinhua Environmental Protection Department also said: "We will not accept interviews."  They also asked the reporter to call another number, which turned out to be a fax number that was not picked up by anyone.

It is understood that when the chemical industrial park was started, the Dongyang City Commerce Department had invited the Planning Council and the Environmental Protection Department to select a site together, but they did not find any place suitable.  The industrial park was then started without adequate environmental impact assessment.

On April 29 last year, the State Council issued the Emergency Notice About Regulating Land Management In Developing The Market For Land.  On July 26 last year, the Dongyang National Land Resources Department issued the Verdict And Penalties For Land Violations.  According to the penalty document obtained by Phoenix Weekly, one chemical industrial company was assessed with "confiscation of new construction and other equipment on 146.28 hectares and the return of the land to the government" in addition to a fine of 1.4628 million  yuan.  For the Junhong Grease Company, the assessment was "confiscation of new construction and other equipment on 14.5 hectares and the return of the land to the government" in addition to a fine of 145,000 yuan.  For the Dongnong Chemical Industrial Company, the assessment was "confiscation of new construction and other equipment on 54205.1 square meters of land and return of the land to the government" in addition to 813,000 yuan in fines.

The Jinhua City National Land Department told Phoenix Weekly, "If the penalized company is dissatisfied with the penalty, they can apply for a review to either the Dongyang government or the Jinhua City National Land Department within sixty days of receiving the letter of notice.  They can also appeal to the Dongyang People's Court within 3 months.  If the company declines to appeal but refuses to implement the order, the National Land Department can ask the court to enforce the order."  The Dongyang National Land Department said: "The chemical industrial companies did not ask for reviews andr they did not appeal.  We have therefore asked the Dongyang court to enforce the order."  The section of the Dongyang court responsible for this work is the administrative office, but the judge refused to be interviewed by our reporter.  When our reporter contacted Director Shao of the court's propaganda department, he only said "I don't know" and thereafter he refused to take our call.  Director Chen of the Dongyang City External Propaganda Department said, "I don't know if the court executed the order.  But according to the related regulations of the provincial government, if the penalized companies should incur huge economic losses as a result, they can file the same reviews or appeals at a later date."  But Director Chen admitted, "These companies have not asked for late filing."

On April 15, the auto repair shop sent people to the Huaxi Junior Secondary School to tow away the 48 damaged vehicles.  At 2pm of the same afternoon, the school re-opened for classes.  As of now, the bamboo sheds built by the villagers are still there.  More than 30 elderly villagers are guarding the sheds, including some who had been injured in the clash.  Every day, there are locals and outside "tourists" who come to look.

After the police-civilian clash in Dongyang City, the Zhejiang provincial party committee and government paid high attention.  The provincial leaders Xi Jinping and Lu Xushan wrote directives.  The leaders of Jinhua and Dongyang cities and the departmental heads held several emergency meetings, saying that "they will earnestly follow the spirit of Secretary Xi's directives, and emphasize that the incident must be handled under the principles of preserving social stability and public interests."  A concerned department of the Zhejiang provincial party committee specifically told Phoenix Weekly: "This matter is actively being handled."  On the days after the incident, the city leaders from Jinhua and Dongyang were on the scene every day to speak to the people.  Phoenix Weekly has encountered these leaders from Jinhua and Dongyang.  The Dongyang mayor told the villagers: "As for these lawless chemical industrial factories, those which ought to be closed down will be closed down and those whose property rights ought to be returned will do so.  This is not just a matter of improving the quality of the environment.  It is also better for healthy development and beneficial to social stability and harmony."  The mayor also said, "If I can't accomplish this work, I might as well as go home and till the farmlands."

As for the official assessment of the incident, the authorities do not appear to have made a decision.  Director Hu of the Jinhua City External Propaganda Department said that this incident has not been "assessed" as yet, but he also said that this was "an internal conflict among the people."  Director Chen of the Dongyang City External Propaganda Department said, "The assessment is that 'clearing out illegal construction was obstructed.'  The government will pursue this further according to the laws."

Mr. Fan of the Jinhua City Political Law Committee said, "We went there to do our work.  We were removing the bamboo sheds and doing our work.  Most of the villagers were in agreement, but a small number of people stirred up trouble."  Mr. Fan also said, "The villagers asked us to remove the sheds.  They were too embarrassed to admit that."  Mr. Fan claimed that the law enforcement personnel did not use tear gas.  The Dongyang public security bureau told Phoenix Weekly, "The present situation is beyond what we are capable of handling.

According to a Dongyang newspaper, the Zhejiang public security bureau leaders have visited the injured citizens and police officers, and said that "the law enforcement officers followed strict discipline during the lawful discharge of their duties and exercised great restraint, thereby preventing the escalation of the incident."

On April 19, the Dongyang City government organized a special meeting to discuss the environmental protection problem in the Huaxi Industrial park, and accepted the proposed environmental protection program.  The local newspaper did not report on the details of that program.  Director Chen of the Dongyang City External Propaganda Department said, "We have formed a leader group on the environmental protection project, led by the mayor.  We must deal with the environmental protection problem, because it was the principal cause of the clash."  Director Chen also said, "As for how the villagers will be dealt with, or the compensation problem over the damages to the vehicles, the government does not have an opinion as yet."

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