Residents protest against power plant in another South China town

Teargas fired at Chinese protesters in Haimen

Chinese riot police break up protest against a planned power station as state media step up the propaganda war

Villages gather to protest in Haimen. Riot police fired teargas in an attempt to end the demonstrations, now running into their fourth day. Photograph: AP

Chinese riot police have fired teargas to break up a protest against a planned power station, while a state TV station showed confessions by two detained activists in an attempt to get other protesters off the streets.

Footage from Hong Kong’s Cable TV showed police firing several rounds of teargas in Haimen town in the southern province of Guangdong, forcing hundreds of people to flee covering their mouths and noses with their hands.

Hours later, a local TV station carried interviews with two detained protesters, a man named Li and a woman, Yung. Sitting behind bars with their heads bowed and handcuffs in full view, the two took turns to confess. “It was wrong to surround the government and block the highway,” Li said, with his eyes lowered.

“I do not know the law. If I knew, I will not block the expressway. If I could have understood this, I wouldn’t have been so brash,” Yung said, her voice shaking.

In an obvious attempt to end the demonstrations now running into their fourth day, the Shantou TV station also lined up several Chinese legal experts and quoted them as saying that such actions carried a maximum penalty of five years in jail, and urging protesters to surrender.

The protests in Haimen, a coastal town of about 120,000 people under the jurisdiction of Shantou city, intensified this week as people in Wukan village, about 80 miles further along the coast, called off a 10-day blockade of their village in protest against what they said was a land grab by officials. Continue reading