Protesters Brutally Suppressed In China
'Worst footage since Tiananmen Square massacre'
Sky News | June 16 2005
Shocking footage of crowd control 'Chinese-style' has been obtained by Sky News.
The film shows dozens of hired thugs running amok in a village just 60 miles from the capital Beijing.
Villagers are shown being beaten with long canes while gunfire can be heard in the background.
Six villagers are reported to have died while 50 were injured.
It is the worst footage of violence to emerge from the secretive country since the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989.
The trouble broke out after the hired hands, some wearing helmuts and khakis, moved in to clear land needed by a nearby power station.
Villagers had built trenches and erected tents to protect their land.
The blurred footage shows hand-to-hand fighting between the assailants and the villagers.
At least one person is seen being shot dead.
The three-minute footage ends when the state's enforcers realise they are being filmed and chase the cameraman.
Dominic Waghorn, Sky's Asia correspondent, said: "These are the pictures China does its best to stop the rest of the world from seeing.
"But this time they have got out.
"It looks like a medieval battle but this is Chinese protest control in the 21st century."
The battle happened last Saturday in the village of Shengyou.
Villagers are reported to have overrun the local headquarters of the Community Party in protest.
Power station bosses are reported to have been negotiating with villagers to buy their land since 2003.
Local governments can chose to take the land and pay minimal compensation if the buyout is considered to be in the public interest.