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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 September 2005, 10:54 GMT 11:54 UK
Attacks on Chinese police rising
Chinese riot police block villagers at Taishi village, in southern China's Guangdong province Monday Sept. 12, 2005
Clashes between the public and police are becoming more common
Attacks on Chinese policemen left 23 dead and 1,800 injured in the first half of this year, a Chinese security ministry spokesman has said.

The spokesman told the Beijing Youth Daily such attacks were on the rise.

He said a rapid growth in people's awareness of their rights had caused them to resist the authorities.

The figures come as China's leaders grapple with the mounting difficulty of maintaining public order in the face of rapid social change.

Correspondents say disputes between the public and the authorities are increasing over issues such as corruption and land grabs.

6 Nov 2004: Paramilitary troops put down an uprising of 100,000 farmers in Sichuan province
10 April 2005: 20,000 peasants drive off more than 1,000 riot police in Zhejiang province
11 June 2005: Six farmers die in a fight with armed men in Shengyou, Hebei province
6 July 2005: Several thousand farmers stand up to 600 policemen in Guangdong
20 July 2005: Hundreds people near Beijing block the entrance to land assigned for use for the 2008 Olympics

China's rapid economic development is widening the gap between rich and poor, and its by-products - pressure on land and the environment - is also taking its toll on China's average villager.

One notable pitched battle between Chinese villagers and police happened in Zhejiang province in April this year, over the alleged pollution caused by chemical factories.

About 100 police officers and officials were reportedly injured by the villagers, and were forced to retreat.

And in Taishi village in Guangdong in recent weeks, villagers have been staging sit-ins and hunger strikes in protest at the village chief, whom they accuse of embezzlement.


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