Urumqi riots (videos+pics) – a flexible legal response

Here’s a few videos documenting the riot in Urumqi:

YouTube

# 1 – 00:51

# 2 – 00:59

# 3 – 00:51

# 4 – 03:14

China Central Television

News reports about the riots are rather repetitive and succint, but pictures (at least the ones that can still be viewed) speak a thousand words.

The rebellion has already left 180 dead, more than 800 1000 wounded and damaged or destroyed over 180 police vehicles. Foreign extremist forces have been blamed for the riot.


(Source Twitpic, with some claiming that this one was taken in Dongguan)

(Source: Twitpic)

The state response has been quite sophisticated. Local residents claim that the city is “basically under martial law“, yet this far no martial law order has been issued yet. Official claims are that the situation is under control.

However, today the city government has issued an emergency notice (see below) on restoring social order.

The legal basis for this notice has not been provided by the PRC Martial Law. Even though it is technically possible to issue a martial law order, the emergency notice is based on the PRC Road Traffic Safety Law instead.

Is the Urumqi government just so ignorant? A hundred times, no, no and no.

The Road Traffic Safety Law allows the police to set up road blocks. This is a convenient way of cordoning off entire areas of Urumqi without having to declare martial law, which would attract further unwanted international attention on the area.

Those who do not comply with the notice can be punished administratively be the police (read: detained), or prosecuted according to the criminal law.

This measure allows the state to focus on a few key figures, while scores of rioters can – in theory – be arrested at road-blocks. No need to make formal accusations against them, no need to find any evidence of their involvement in the riot, or even obtain a confession.

Here’s how repression becomes faster, and more efficient too. Let’s see what happens in the next days.

As it could be expected, the more than 1.000 rioters whom the police has caught have not been formally arrested, but rather “stopped for investigations“. In the meantime, riots are spreading to Kashgar,
乌鲁木齐市政府发布维护社会正常秩序的紧急通告
为了维护乌鲁木齐市的正常社会秩序,保障国家机关正常执行公务,现通告如下:
  一、《根据中华人民共和国道路交通安全法》有关规定,自2009年7月6日凌晨1时至8时(北京时间),由公安机关对乌鲁木齐市部分区域实行交通管制,在交通管制区域内,任何车辆不得通行。
  二、一切单位和个人均应当按照本通告要求,自觉维护社会正常秩序。
  三、违反本通告的,由公安机关依法拘罚;构成犯罪的,依法追究刑事责任。
  四、本通告自发布之时起施行。
   乌鲁木齐市人民政府
   二OO九年七月六日

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