Saturday, 22 November 2008

Protest in front of Beijing Govt.

北京维权人士周莉现场报道:11月19日上午9时,在北京市政府门前发生大规模民众抗 议,约一千多人,市政府所在的正义路因此实行了交通管制,禁止社会车辆通行,约一百多 名警察到达现场。11时,市政府周围拉起了警戒线,多名人士被捕。同时在外交部南面、司法部门前,发生被拆迁民众示威,堵塞了交通。赶到时已经被警察驱散,只见到警察离去,二环主路被堵。

Large-scale protests broke out on November 19 in front of the Beijing Municipal Government. Over 1,000 people gathered onsite to strike for their rights.

According to the report, the protest started at 9 a.m. on November 19. Vehicles were forbidden to enter Zhengyi Road where the municipal government is located. Over 100 policemen were dispatched to disperse the crowed. At 11 a.m., police cordoned off the area surrounding the municipal government offices and then arrested some of protestors. Zhou Li, a rights activist, who was also the reporter of the incident, told Central News Agency that the protesting crowd was composed of citizens who were swindled into investing in what was purported to be tree-planting in Inner Mongolia, purchasing retail rental space in a building in Beijing, as well as those whose homes were demolished with no reasonable compensation. The three groups joined their protests together as the Beijing Municipal Government is not dealing with any of their situations.

Zhou said, that about six months ago, the Yilin Corporation advertised on state-run television (CCTV) to encourage people to invest in a tree-planting scheme in the arid northern region of Inner Mongolia, which lured them to purchase woods, with promises of huge returns within eight years. However, what people actually bought are pieces of barren land without any trees whatsoever.

A majority of the victims were senior citizens, who invested their life savings and pensions. They were swindled for an average of over 100,000 Yuan (US $14,631) per person, and they made up half of the protestors on November 19.

Those people who were swindled in the tree-planting scheme believe that the state-controlled CCTV got huge profits from the advertising, but cheated people. They think CCTV belongs to the country, so the government should take the responsibility.

Another group of protesters were conned into buying “retail rental space in a building” in Beijing—cheated by Xinguo Corporation, owned by the son of Li Peng, former Premier of China. Similarly, they lost a couple of 100,000 Yuan (US $14,631) on average per person. They were last seen being taken by police to a big bus, and their whereabouts are currently unknown.

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