Recent media reports on the Chinese authorities’ tactics to quell protests have revealed a new level of brutality.
In a June 23 report, Taiwanese newspaper The Liberty Times revealed that last April, “anti-terror” SWAT police in the Jing’an district of Shanghai were dispatched to stop a family who was protesting the local authorities’ decision to demolish their home.
Whether to make way for a new infrastructure project or to redevelop the land, Chinese authorities forcibly demolish homes and demand that citizens relocate elsewhere.
Last April, a university student identified as Han Xiaofeng and his family refused to leave their home, in protest of the planned demolition.
“Anti-terror” SWAT police then arrived at their home and forced their way inside, according to a relative who spoke to Radio Free Asia (RFA). The family put their hands up in surrender, but the police shot them point-blank, killing Han’s maternal uncle, Ju Hailiang, and injuring Han and his mother.
The relative added that the police shot at least 10 times. The uncle was not immediately brought to the hospital. Authorities waited about 20 minutes before calling an ambulance. Ju died in the hospital 21 days later.
According to RFA, the Shanghai authorities gave another version of the story: Han and his family were belligerent, throwing bricks, empty bottles, and other objects, which compelled the SWAT police to open fire, the authorities said.
They have since charged Han, his mother, and his father with “endangering public safety,” while his parents were also charged with “disorderly behavior.” Han was sentenced to three years in prison, suspended for four years.
Recently, media reports have also emerged about violent police tactics to suppress military veterans protesting in China for better welfare benefits. Veterans in Guangdong, Sichuan, Hunan, Henan, and Anhui provinces, among others, have taken to social media to report that they have been beaten by thugs hired by local officials. Some veterans needed hospital treatment after the beatings.
Similar protests surfaced back in May, with many veterans petitioning local authorities for adequate living subsidies, assistance in job searching, and medical treatment. They were also quickly dispersed by security agents.
“They’ve been laid off for more than a decade without any income. Many cannot afford medical treatment. When they become sick, they can only wait to die at home. Some simply choose to commit suicide,” a source told The Epoch Times in an interview at the time.
After hearing about the attacks, veterans in Zhenjiang City, Jiangsu Province, decided to gather in the streets in protest on June 24, according to South China Morning Post.
They were soon dispersed by hundreds of armed police.