June 15, 2011
An eruption of protests throughout China has sent armoured vehicles into town centres, prompted an internet blackout by the government and left thousands across the country blogging about “crazy” violence on the streets.
The summer surge of protests, which flared in the southern industrial hub of Zengcheng over the weekend, has been linked to a range of frustrations with modern China – furies that have drawn the government into crackdowns on activism and massive increases in the domestic security budget.
More than 1000 migrant workers went on the rampage in Zengcheng after a pregnant street vendor in her 20s was roughed up by security guards. Such incidents, while distressing, are not uncommon. Witnesses said that the centre of town was bedlam, with smashed windows, blazing police vehicles and teargas explosions as rioters hurled missiles at an official building. One bank worker blogged that the Bank of China had ordered an immediate halt to all ATM transactions.