BEIJING (AP) — Police in a southern Chinese township arrested 13 people who illegally detained officials and police officers and stormed a police station and a government building in a dispute over a young woman's death, authorities said.
The violence reflects the public's deep distrust in the local government's ability to properly investigate and adjudicate disputes and increasing hostility toward local authorities.
The Shuangfeng county government in Hunan province on Friday demanded in a public notice that troublemakers turn themselves in in return for leniency.
The violence followed the June 8 death of 28-year-old Cao Hui. The official finding was that she died from pesticide poisoning, but her blood relatives were skeptical and demanded to know if her husband played a role in her death, the county government said.
On Thursday, Cao's blood relatives and supporters attacked and detained government workers who came to the home morgue to retrieve evidence, prompting the town's senior officials to intervene. Yet the officials were hit with bricks and beer bottles, and they were forced to kneel in the mourning hall for Cao, the county government said.
The government deployed more than 150 police officers and negotiated for the release of the detained government workers by late afternoon, according to the statements.
But the violence escalated when hundreds of local residents stormed the local police station, blocked a road, and flattened the tires of a police vehicle, preventing the police officers from leaving, the statements said.
Early Friday morning, the crowd threw rocks and stones and sprayed pepper water at the police that tried to make a forced exit, the county government said.
In a late Friday update, the county said police arrested 13 people and public order was being restored.