“The People of Shishou Are Angry!”

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Another mass incident involving tens of thousands in Hubei Province. And once again it was sparked by what would normally be a relatively minor dispute over an alleged suicide. The speed of the reaction (and numbers) by townspeople to the rumors that police/officials may have been involved in the death is testament to the extraordinary depth of resentment among ordinary Chinese against the authorities. (Thing about the online support, too, that cop killer Yang Jia received or outpouring of sympathy in the Deng Yujiao case). I have long felt that such “mass incidents” were local and containable. Not exactly full of noise and fury signifying nothing, but certainly not a harbinger of doom for the cadres in Beijing. But a string of incidents like Shishou (think Weng’an or the clashes in LonganĀ Gansu etc etc) and many smaller episodes are forcing me to reconsider. If so many Chinese are on a such a hair trigger that they’ll pour into the streets on the basis of rumors about the death of an unknown, things are reaching a pretty serious pass. Anyway, here’s the youtube footage of the confrontation that has been going on since June 19. (Here’s a good summary of the background at the invaluable Global Voices site):