September 22, 2007
Strange fruit in Beijing
In the wee hours of Sept. 22, plainclothes police apparently swept through the Sanlitun bar area in Beijing with dogs and stun batons, beating up every African-looking person (perhaps limited to males) on the street who could not give a good account of himself - apparently a good number of them in the view of the police. Here's a blog posting on the subject; an acquaintance of mine in Beijing states that someone who was in the area at the time telephoned him with substantially the same account.
Further comment would be superfluous.
9/23 UPDATE: Here's another blog post on the story. One commenter makes the good point that it's hard to explain this as a crackdown on drug dealers as such. There's a police station right near by; drug dealing has been rampant for years; it would be easy for an undercover officer to stand around taking pictures of drug deals. If they haven't managed to crack down yet, it's because they don't want to. More likely the word came down that Something Must Be Done and there was a high-visibility round-up to satisfy the higher-ups; things will soon be back to normal.
9/27 UPDATE: Here's an eyewitness report.