Police arrest hundreds in China for rioting

Authorities detained hundreds of people suspected of setting fire to police and government buildings in a furious outburst over the handling of a teenage student's death in southwest China, a human rights organization said on Monday.

Paramilitary police swarmed over Weng'an, a town in hilly Guizhou province, in response to Saturday's unrest and kept up a heavy presence Monday. Squads patrolled the streets in riot helmets and shields, others stood guard on corners and still hundreds more stood by in alleys and side streets. Sparking the unrest was the death of the high-school student, whom Internet chat sites said was raped and murdered. Investigators questioned three young men who had called the girl away but the three -- two of whom may be related to local police officials -- were let go, prompting outrage, the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said. By midday on Monday, police had detained 300 protesters who allegedly took part in the violence with some suspects sent to detention centers, the rights center said. Liu Zhongmin, a teacher at the No. 3 Middle School in Weng'an County, where the girl studied, said an initial investigation by the county's medical expert found that the girl had drowned.