“Foreign forces” are getting the blame for weeks of protests that ended with a violent police crackdown against angry locals in a fishing village in China’s southern Guangdong Province.
The villagers in Wukan were protesting over the jailing of a local leader who had earlier led protest efforts against land grabs by communist officials in 2011.
The authorities used force to end the protests on Sept.14, and videos show clashes between police and the villagers.
“Most people have been scared badly,” a Wukan villager named Chen told Reuters.
“This time it was a wild crackdown. They went after everyone, chasing them up into their houses, beating people.”
Around 70 people were reportedly detained.
According to the nationalistic state-run tabloid Global Times, the protests were the work of “foreign forces,” orchestrated by overseas news crews reporting on the events.
“Foreign media have been unscrupulously inciting, planning, and directing chaos,” said the Global Times op-ed published Sept. 15.
The article went on to say “foreign forces” faked the death of an 83-year-old grandmother during the crackdown, and “exaggerated” everything that occurred.
According to an article by Quartz, such blame games by state-run media are typical. Chinese government propaganda, Quartz says, has one underlying message — the West is the root of all of China’s woes. Often the media – i.e., covering trials of human rights activists — are singled out for “provoking trouble,” and that rights lawyers are “proxies for Western forces.”
At least five journalists from Hong Kong covering the Wukan protests were detained, and in some cases assaulted by police. The authorities went on searching for more foreign journalists, and were reportedly offering 20,000 yuan (about $3,000) for information that would lead to the capture of “foreign forces.”
At least four Chinese citizens have been arrested for posting news on social media about the reported death of the grandmother, reports Quartz.
Wukan is also known as the “democracy village.” For more on this and about the recent protests, see this China Uncensored video: