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China: Police fire on crowd, killing four

China: Police fire on crowd, killing four

At least four people died and others were injured after police fired on a crowd in the Southern province of Guangdong last night, according to witnesses that Amnesty International has spoken to.

According to some villagers that Amnesty International spoke to, up to six villagers may have died and provincial level authorities may have been involved in the violence. They said many villagers had subsequently fled their villages. A dispute over the use of land for a wind power plant had been running for five months without incident until this point, according to the villagers.

"These reports of protesters being shot dead are chilling, and demand an immediate independent investigation," said Catherine Baber, Deputy Asia Director at Amnesty International. "The increasing number of such disputes over land use across rural China, and the use of force to resolve them, suggest an urgent need for the Chinese authorities to focus on developing effective channels for dispute resolution."

Jiang Hu and Jiang Guanji were among those who died in the village of Dongzhou on Tuesday evening, according to news reports. Villagers said hundreds of officers from the People's Armed Police, a unit of the People's Liberation Army, arrived at the village after thousands of villagers had gathered to demand the release of three village representatives. The three had apparently been arrested earlier that day.

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