Farmers Jailed for Rioting Over Heavy Grain Levies

China News Digest, 15 June 2001

[CND, 06/15/01] A county court in northern China handed down jail terms to eight farmers, who had taken part in a riot against heavy levies last September, AFP reported, quoting a local official.

The Jize county court in Hebei Province described the eight as the ringleaders in the anti-government riot, and sentenced them to up to five and a half year in prison on Monday.

Angered by the government's insistence on increasing grain levies despite of poor harvests due to flood and locusters plague, thousands of farmers put a local government building under siege, smashing its windows and trying to set it on fire, and turning a police car over on September 9 last year. The authorities later arrested a total of 30 people who participated in the riot.

AFP also reported that about 500 tricycle drivers in Changchun, Jilin province, staged street protest against high government fees on Wednesday. The typical annual income for the tricycle drivers was 5,000 to 6,000 yuan (HK$4,700-$5,650), but the government fees could added up to over 2,000 yuan a year. (LIU Weijun)