China Dismisses Local Leaders After Angry Protest

The Communist Party boss of a Chinese city and head of law enforcement were dismissed Saturday for mishandling violent protests last month after a young man's mysterious death, a state news agency said.

About 1,000 people gathered June 19 after the 24-year-old chef
was found dead outside a hotel in Shishou city in central Hubei
province. Police said he killed himself, but rumors spread that he
was killed by gangsters or the hotel boss.

Protesters blocked roads, smashed windows and set fire to the
hotel while preventing police from moving the body, the official
Xinhua News Agency reported at the time. An amateur video clip
posted online showed hundreds of protesters surging toward police,
picking up objects from the ground and hurling them at the
officers, who retreated.

More than 200 people were injured, according to the Hong
Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy.

"Shishou officials did not act until after about 80 hours of
silence, fueling rampant rumors which resulted in unrest when angry
locals obstructed two streets, burned the hotel and smashed several
vehicles," Xinhua reported Saturday.

It said Zhong Ming, the city's party secretary, and Tang Dunwu,
a party official in charge of law enforcement, were dismissed for
their "improper decision" in responding to the incident.

Discontent with local officials and police in China often leads
to mass protests, which can gather in size and force with
remarkable speed. Mild frustration can turn into fury within
minutes.


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