The police shootings in southern China have brought forward many more similar cases of local officials stealing money or assets (usually land) from poor rural farmers. The government has reported over 70,000 public protests last year, mainly in the less affluent rural areas. It's believed that many similar incidents are not reported. To put this in perspective, that would be some 25,000 public protests, against government corruption, a year in a country like the United States. In America, that would be considered as the opening stages of a widespread revolution. Well, that's how the Chinese leadership (unelected communist bureaucrats) sees it, and they are scrambling to come up with a solution that will leave them in power.
December 12, 2005: China announced that it had prosecuted 50,000 government officials, for corruption, in the last two years. What was not announced was how extensive the government believed the corruption to be. The government is known to have done surveys, and combined that with police and intelligence reports, to get an idea of just how dirty the millions of government officials are. The fact that this data is a closely held state secret, indicates that 50,000 prosecutions isn't enough to make a dent in the corruption problem.
December 11, 2005: The government has been forced, by rising public outrage, to act against corrupt local officials for the killings near the village of Dongzhou. Chinese secret police are reporting that the truth about various disasters (natural, industrial), or cases of police misbehavior, is spreading with unprecedented rapidity, and that all the money spent on trying to control the Internet, and use of cell phones, is not working. If the government tries to control the message via the usual media (TV, radio, papers), the people just get angrier.
December 7, 2005: In southern China, several hundred farmers protesting against the seizure of their land, in the village of Dongzhou, by government officials, were fired on by police, leaving about a dozen dead, and many more wounded. The government tried to present this, via the state controlled media, as police defending themselves against dangerous, armed, rioters. But the hundreds of millions of Chinese with access to the Internet or cell phone text messaging, got the truth into circulation quickly.