Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Chizhou. China - A minor street confrontation between a rich man and a poor man has sparked large scale rioting, in China, for at least the second time in less than a year. A traffic accident involving a young student on a bicycle and a rich investor with his body guards provoked tens of thousand of the citizens of Chizhou to turn on the police and government in open revolt. Angry mobs attacked anti-riot police and police stations torching their patrol cars and looted a nearby supermarket bare.

The spark which ignited the uprising bore a striking resemblance to the October 18, riots which shook Wanzhou, in central China. In Wanzhou, as in Chizhou an upper class person assaulted a poor person on the street enraging the population. Beyond these two examples mass rioting has become a fairly common thing in China in the past year. In a country with widespread discontent and very few acceptable means for releasing it one wonders how long it will be before people decide that taking control of their city or village for just a night or two is not enough.