A Secret Government Project Sparks Huge Protest in Wenlou, China

Protests erupt in southern China. People gave up farmland for an “eco-park” But then learned the government had a secret
agenda. Welcome back to China Uncensored. I’m Chris Chappell. Big protests over the weekend— and this time, not in Hong Kong. Ok, also in Hong Kong. But I’m talking about the protests in Wenlou. Wenlou is a small township in Guangdong province. It’s a couple hundred miles west of Hong
Kong. Local authorities had asked residents there to give up their farmland so they could build a 24-acre park. They dubbed it the “Huazhou Humanity and
Ecology Park.” Which sounds just lovely. But then last week, residents found out a
dirty little secret: The “Humanity and Ecology Park” would also contain a crematorium— you know, to burn bodies of dead people. I don’t think that local residents were expecting the park to have that kind
of humanity. And when residents found out, they were not happy. Last Thursday, they went to the local government
office to protest. Residents had felt cheated because authorities kept the crematorium secret. Residents were also worried the crematorium would cause pollution and contaminate the
water supply. Plus, you know, burning dead people near a residential area is really bad feng shui. “The [site] is close to housing and the
source of our drinking water,” a woman told the South China Morning Post. “We’re afraid of pollution. We don’t want money or compensation, we just want the crematorium project scrapped.” So Chinese authorities did what Chinese authorities
do best. They sat down for a dialogue with local protest
leaders and… just kidding. They sent in the riot police. These people held a banner that says “Love our beautiful Wenlou town, say NO to crematorium.” Of course you need riot police! Holding a banner is very subversive. If you really loved your town, you’d embrace the government’s plan to burn dead people in the middle of it. In any case, the protest didn’t end well. The police fired tear gas and charged at the
protesters. Around 100 people were reportedly arrested and a dozen or so were said to be injured— including a child… and this elderly woman who was allegedly beaten
by the police. And there were other reports of police brutality, including police dragging an unconscious young
protester in an alley. Definitely the kind of thing that would make
me want to go cow-tipping on police cars. One resident told the Guardian that “now police are like crazy dogs, beating
whoever they see.” That’s a bit unfair. In some cases, the police didn’t beat people. They just launched tear gas at them. “Crazy dogs.” Ha! Find me a dog that can operate a tear gas
launcher. At any rate, the protests in Wenlou are not
actually that unique in China. There are tens of thousands of protests a
year across the country— what central authorities call “mass incidents.” Most of them are small, often a dozen or fewer people. But occasionally mass incidents involve several
hundred or even over a thousand people, like the one
in Wenlou. But what really sets Chinese authorities on
edge is that Wenlou is only a couple hundred miles from Hong Kong. And they’re worried that subversive ideas
like freedom and representative government could spread
from Hong Kong to other parts of China. In the end, authorities in Wenlou put a freeze on the
crematorium plan. “But the stand-off between police and protesters
goes on.” That’s because “the public had no confidence
in the government— as it had agreed only to suspend the crematorium
project rather than cancel it.” Wow, that reminds me of Hong Kong, where the government agreed only to suspend
a controversial extradition bill, but not actually cancel it. At least not until protests had gone on for
three months. And by then, the protests had become about a lot more than just the one extradition
bill. Of course, there’s a key difference between protests in Wenlou and Hong Kong. Protesters in Wenlou are asking the local
government to stop building a crematorium. And the Communist Party can compromise, by stopping construction, and then throwing local officials under the
bus. But in Hong Kong, protesters are asking for freedom. And that’s a serious threat to the Communist
Party’s power. So they’re not going to compromise on that. So what do you think about the crematorium
protests in Wenlou? Leave your comments below. And now it’s time for me to answer a question from a fan who supports China Uncensored through the crowdfunding website Patreon. Logan asks: “Does Chinese organized crime
have connections to the CCP?” Well, that’s widely believed to be true, but it’s hard to find solid evidence. For example, in Hong Kong in July, triad members dressed in white attacked protesters. Why would they do that if they were not in
cahoots with the police or government, right? But again, just rumors, no solid proof. The Chinese Communist Party has an organization called the United Front. Its members work with all sorts of groups— community leaders, politicians, organized crime, even religious authorities. The goal of the United Front is to ensure
Chinese people inside and outside China are loyal to the
Party. But this kind of influence is done subtly, so it’s hard to find specific orders like “I’ll pay you X dollars to attack this
group.” If you want to learn more, I suggest you read “Silent Invasion: China’s Influence in Australia”… or “Claws of the Panda: Beijing’s Campaign of Influence and Intimidation in Canada.” Thanks for your question, Logan. Most of China Uncensord’s income comes from direct viewer support through Patreon. So as a reward to our supporters, I answer a question from our Patrons at the end of some of my episodes. Visit patreon.com/chinauncensored to find
out more. Thanks for watching. Once again I’m Chris Chappell. See you next time.

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