After firing on a crowd of peaceful demonstrators, unsuccessfully covering it up, then admitting but minimizing the slaughter, and repressing local witnesses, officials in China are now justifying the Dongzhou Village massacre. The subscription—only South China Morning Post reports that a provincial newspaper and later the official news agency Xinhua
laid blame for the violence on "a few instigators".
It sidestepped the issue of whether the police acted responsibly in allowing the situation to spiral out of control.
It repeated the official casualty toll — three dead and eight injured. For the first time, it identified the dead: Wei Jin , 31, Lin Yidui , 26, and Jiang Guangge , 35. It said families had claimed the bodies of Lin and Jiang but Wei's body was left in the morgue.
Villagers have disputed the casualty figure and said more than a dozen protesters who joined the riots remained unaccounted for.
"During the chaos, rioters kept throwing petrol bombs at police," a city spokesman said in the report.
"The situation was very critical and police had to take immediate actions to put a stop to the riots and disperse the crowd or the lives of police and villagers at the scene would have been at risk."
Hat tip: China Challenges