Chinese Detentions Spark Protests

BEIJING -- Chinese authorities have detained four people over the suspected beating death by police auxiliaries of a man who filmed a clash between villagers and members of the force. The killing touched off large-scale protests in a central city, underscoring public anger over abusive treatment by government employees.

Residents angrily marched in front of city hall in Tianmen on Tuesday, demanding redress for the death of Wei Wenhua, a 41-year-old construction company executive, said Chen Junling, Wei's brother-in-law.

Chen said protesters numbered in the thousands -- a figure that could not be independently verified -- while a Communist Party official denied that demonstrations had occurred at all.

Wei was driving by Wanba, a village on the outskirts of Tianmen in Hubei province, on Monday and stopped when he saw local villagers squaring off against 50 urban inspectors, his family and state media said.