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Unrest in China and India Continues

July 29, 2013
Plain English Version

Outcry in China over the watermelon man’s death grows

The death of a watermelon vendor, Deng Jiazheng, at the hands of the chengguan brought new attention to these urban enforcers of the law.

The chengguan are called urban-management forces, a short version of City Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau. They are not the police, they do not carry guns and they cannot arrest people. They are supposed to enforce quality of life rules.

In reality, many people see them as thugs who push people around, make illegal arrests and confiscate their property. Six of the chengguan were detained after the death of Deng.

That has not stopped the outcry. The people resent the role of the chengguan. Deng’s death resulted in demonstrations and widespread attention over the Internet.

Deng’s daughter twitted, “Everyone associated with my father’s incident, in real life, have been asked to stop discussing the case. Yesterday, my father’s body was found with blood clots and there was bleeding under his scalp but the government wants to cover up the truth and claim that my father was suddenly struck by an heart attack. These actions by the government are completely unacceptable to us!!!!”

The message was removed from the Internet very quickly and then was replaced by a message, “thanking the government for its support at this difficult time.”

The Chinese government is doing all it can to contain the outcry. It certainly shows all is not well in China.

Principal at a school in India where many died is arrested

Twenty-three children died at a school after eating lunch prepared with cooking oil contaminated by pesticide. The deaths shocked the community and the nation.

The principal is said to have bought the cooking oil from a store owned by her husband. When the children started dying, the principal fled, leaving no adults to take charge. She was arrested nine days later.

Experts say the deaths reflect poorly on the country. The school lunch program helps feed children. But like many programs in India, it is underfinanced, corrupt and mismanaged. Cases of tainted food are fairly routine.

There is political fallout. Critics said the Chief Minister of Bihar did not visit the parents of the dead children. He is jockeying for position in the United Progressive Alliance before elections next year.

He said, “This is not a case of simple poisoning,” suggesting a conspiracy. “They have arrested the key accused. We can’t bring back the dead children, but we will do whatever we can…to help the families.”

It is not clear if his remarks comforted the families.

Sources: The New Yorker and The New York Times

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