Allegations of a police cover-up following a young girl’s death sparked rioting in the Weng’an County region of Guizhou province on 28 June 2008. Rioters reportedly damaged vehicles and set fire to a police building after allegations emerged that police officers ignored a family’s claim that their daughter had been raped and murdered. The girl’s body was later found, prompting angry residents to take to the streets and surround the local police headquarters. The extent of the violence is unclear as official state media in China have censored most reports coming out of Weng’an County. One account from a resident in Guizhou province claims that police officers ruled the girl’s death a suicide and did not conduct a proper autopsy. No other details on the incident have emerged. Reports indicate that the situation is now calm; however, local sources indicate that the atmosphere is still tense with police officers demanding that rioters turn themselves in.
In response to the unrest, the Chinese government unveiled a campaign to defuse protests ahead of the Olympics in August. Authorities have undertaken measures to prevent petitioners from entering Beijing, stating that the goal is to have no mass petitions and no mass incidents in the capital while the Olympic Games are in progress.