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Cablegate: Guangdong Governor Announces Closure of Dongzhou Incident

VZCZCXRO0748
PP RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHGZ #0322 0680937
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 090937Z MAR 07
FM AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5883
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI

UNCLAS GUANGZHOU 000322

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/CM AND DRL/PHD
USPACOM FOR FPA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV SOCI ECON CH
SUBJECT: Guangdong Governor announces closure of Dongzhou incident

REF: A) 06 Guangzhou 15624 B) 06 Guangzhou 11684 (NOTAL); C) 05

Guangzhou 32000 (NOTAL); D) 05 Guangzhou 31940 (NOTAL)

(U) THIS DOCUMENT IS SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. PLEASE PROTECT
ACCORDINGLY. NOT FOR RELEASE OUTSIDE U.S. GOVERNMENT CHANNELS. NOT
FOR INTERNET PUBLICATION.

1. (SBU) Summary: Nearly ten months after Dongzhou villagers were
sentenced for their role in a December 2005 violent riot in which
protestors were killed by police, Guangdong Governor Huang Huahua
announced at a press conference on the sidelines of the Chinese
national Congress meeting that police officials detained for not
following orders properly and shooting protesters dead in Guangdong
Province in 2005 had been sentenced. He did not provide further
details. With the vagueness of the report and Huang's statementm
all from western media sources, it is unclear what punishment was
given to police officials. While most government officials had
already received minor punishments earlier, such as letters of
reprimand from the Party, the Governor's announcement effectively
closes the incident. The public statement by the governor is an
indication of the seriousness with which the provincial government
views the flawed handling of the incident. It is clear the
government would like to bring closure to the incident. Governor
Huang would, no doubt, also like to close out the incident as it
damaged his reputation and of Guangdong Party Secretary Zhang
Dejiang. End Summary.

2. (U) Guangdong Provincial Governor Huang Huahua announced in a
short and ambiguous message on March 7 in a news conference on the
sidelines of the annual meeting of China's parliament that: "We have
already dealt with this according to the law. We have sentenced the
criminals, including those who, in enforcing the law, made
mistakes," according to Reuters. A later report broadcast in
Chinese by Radio Free Asia quoted Huang differently: "We have
already dealt with the responsible persons for this accident
according to the law. We have appropriately sentenced or punished
the persons who did not properly enforce the law and shot
protesters." Hong Kong's Beijing-owned Wen Wei Po newspaper
reported in 2006 quoting the city's Communist Party organization
department director Jiang Haiying, that Shanwei deputy police chief
Wu Xing had been fired and placed under "criminal detention" over
the shootings.

3. (U) In the Reuters report, Huang was also quoted saying that the
incident had "been dealt with appropriately," but he provided no
further details. Huang maintained the official story that the
incident had been incited by a small group of lawbreakers which
resulted in violence.

4. (U) The announced sentencing of police officials was the final
act in a tragedy growing out of the violent riot in December 2005.
In May, 2006, Guangdong Disciplinary Inspection Committee announced
penalty decisions - internal party reprimands - for other officials
held responsibile for the Dongzhou Incident (ref A), including one
Deputy Party Secretary; the vice-mayor and Director General of the
Public Security Bureau (PSB) of Shanwei; the Director General of
Shanwei's Construction Bureau; and another Deputy Party Secretary
who was also the Deputy Director General of the Shanwei PSB and
removed from his position in the PSB. Other officials of the Red
Bay Development Zone and Dongzhou Street Administration have been
punished.

COMMENT: Protecting Authority Comes First
-----------------------------------------

5. (SBU) As in previous reporting on this incident (reftels), there
is a clear distinction between the treatment of officials and
villagers involved in violence. This sentencing sends a message
from the Communist Party to both the ordinary citizens and security
officials about the use of violence in civil unrest situations:
crackdowns are permissible, but regrettable, but should not involve
excessive violence; villagers are given no latitude once they employ
violence. Accordingly, most officials received a light punishment -
internal reprimand. Even the figure most responsible for the
killing of villagers, the Shanwei Deputy Party Secretary, retained
his party position while losing only the PSB-level job. While it is
possible that the police officials who were sentenced or punished
received harsher punishments, the lack of transparency leads us to
believe that while they were punished and possibly removed from
their positions, it is likely that their punishment was far lighter
than that meted to villagers convicted of attacking the police.

GOLDBERG

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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