Chinese protest investment scams
BEIJING - Reuters
Villagers angered over collapsing illegal investment schemes gather in China’s Haimen province Dec 23. AP photoThousands of protesters converged at a train station in central China, angered over collapsing illegal investment schemes that residents said the government had failed to staunch, according to news reports.
On Jan. 1, the protesters faced rows of police at the railway station in Anyang, Henan province, where some residents said they wanted to board trains to Beijing to lodge their complaints, Hong Kong’s Mingpao newspaper reported.
Pictures in that paper and on China’s “Weibo” microblogging site showed thousands of people milling in front of the station, while police watched. News reports over past months have shown that collapsing illegal investment schemes have become a serious problem for the government in Anyang, a heavily rural area of 5.2 million people southwest of Beijing.
China’s ruling Communist Party worries that the tens of thousands of sporadic protests over land grabs, corruption and economic grievances that break out across the country every year could coalesce into discontent that threatens its control. And Anyang, with its mix of economic grievances and suggestions of corruption, illustrates the discontent driving many protests.
Yesterday, the Anyang government issued a notice acknowledging the protest and vowed to take tougher action against the investment schemes, that have promised investors much higher returns than can be gained from banks.
“On New Year’s Day, our city experienced a mass demonstration by some people who participated in illegal investments,” said the notice from the Communist Party secretary of Anyang, Zhang Guangzhi.
Although officials managed to contain the protest, said Zhang, “this incident has exposed weak links in our handling of the illegal investment schemes.”