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China: Clashes between protesters and police break out over plans for crematorium

Author: South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), Published on: 1 December 2019

“Protesters and police clash in southern China over plans for crematorium”, 29 November 2019

Riot police fired tear gas and beat protesters after hundreds took to the streets in southern China… over plans to build a crematorium in the area.

Residents of Wenlou in Guangdong province… said several hundred people tried to march to the township government offices… after they found out that a crematorium would be built on land they thought was set aside for a park.

But police stopped the marchers before they reached the township offices, with witnesses claiming that a number of people… were wounded as officers in anti-riot gear fired tear gas, beat protesters and detained them.

Residents also said police raided homes to arrest protesters…

An official from the township government and an employee from a hospital in the city of Huazhou, which oversees Wenlou, confirmed that some wounded were being treated at the medical centre, but declined to give details…

In a notice posted online… the township government said a funeral home would be built inside the 75 million yuan (US$10.7 million) Huazhou Humanity and Ecology Park project…

However, a notice about the same project in late October did not refer to funeral or cremation facilities, saying only that the park would have office space and a canteen.

Wu Gang, a supervisor at Jiancheng Engineering Consulting, a company helping the government to solicit public feedback on the project, said he did not know why the notice was posted…

“There were some negative opinions from villagers, but I do not know the details,” Wu said.

The company in charge of the construction project could not be reached for comment.

A resident said the community felt “cheated” for having to give up their farmland for the project. “We only found out it is a crematorium recently and we are very upset. They should have had public consultation before,” she said…

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