Thousands of outraged residents this weekend overturned police cars after authorities failed to respond immediately to a traffic accident, showing cracks of underlying social discontent amid China’s leadership transition.
According to reports, a car chase ensued after a driver sped away to avoid a police checkpoint for drunk drivers on a main road in Fuan city in Fujian province. An incident that resulted in either police or the chased man hitting bikes and injuring five people caused confusion, reports AP.
Hundreds of residents began trashing police vehicles, accusing police and paramedics of being “slow to respond”.
“The accident made a small number of local people dissatisfied, so they smashed police vehicles and overturned three police vans,” a statement from the Fuan police said.
Fuan’s Communist Party committee countered accusations, saying that police and paramedics had been immediately called after the collisions while those injured were taken to the hospital 40 minutes after the accident.
The committee claimed “a handful of lawless people misled some people who didn’t know the truth” and ignited the rampage.
A Hong Kong-based human rights group said people were fed up with social problems such as corruption and high-handed officialdom, paltry pensions, and land evictions carried out to make way for developments.
The Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said the incident was triggered by the local police corruption. They allege that illegal registration of license plates for 50,000 yuan ($8,000) is rife.