Chinese police detain three after Shishou riot

BEIJING, July 23 (Reuters) – Police detained the brother and two cousins of a chef whose death last month led to a riot in central China in which angry residents beat back security forces with bricks and bottles, Xinhua news agency said on Thursday.

The Shishou riot in mid-June was one of the largest “mass incidents” in China in several months until it was overshadowed by deadly ethnic rioting in Xinjiang province this month.

In Shishou an estimated 10,000 townspeople torched a hotel, destroyed vehicles and battled with police for about 2 days in the small city in Hubei Province, in a sign of the depths of frustration in China’s vast hinterland.

The relatives of chef Tu Yuangao were detained for disrupting public order and traffic, Xinhua quoted the Shishou city government as saying.

Tu’s death in the hotel was ruled a suicide, but his family refused to believe that foul play was not involved. Some news reports in June said the hotel was a centre for drug dealing and other illegal activities.

It was not clear what grievances inspired people, some of them government workers, to take up the Tu family’s cause.

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