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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 December 2005, 14:20 GMT
Chinese police 'shoot protesters'
Chinese villagers face off with riot police in Taishi, Guangdong province, on 12 September 2005
Protests in rural China are on the increase
Chinese armed police are reported to have opened fire on protesters in the southern province of Guangdong, shooting dead at least two people.

Witnesses told US broadcaster Radio Free Asia the incident happened after hundreds of police tried to disperse up to 1,000 demonstrators near Shanwei.

Protesters were angry because they had not been compensated for land taken by the government to build a power plant.

The incident is the latest in a series of such disputes in rural China.

Police and local government officials have refused to comment on the latest incident, which took place in Dongzhou village, near Shanwei.

Protests by villagers over issues such as land seizures, corruption and pollution have become more common in China in recent years.

One of the most prominent such demonstrations, earlier this year, took place in the village of Taishi, also in Guangdong province.

Villagers accused Taishi's chief of embezzling public funds in a deal involving the sale of a large tract of village land. The stand-off between locals and security forces lasted several weeks.


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