Chinese police take away, detain 50 after protests in Beijing, Guangdong

BEIJING (Reuters) - The police in China's capital and in southern Guangdong have detained or taken away more than 50 people after two separate protests, the police and state news agency Xinhua said.

Guangdong police arrested 22 people after demonstrators forced their way into a high-speed rail station in a protest about land and housing issues, Xinhua reported late on Friday.

In a separate incident in Beijing on Saturday, the police took more than 30 people to hospital after they consumed pesticide during a "lie-in" protest on a shopping street near the centre of the capital, city police said in a statement.

The statement said the protesters were taxi drivers from the far northern province of Heilongjiang.

Similar incidents have happened before in China, with protesters drinking pesticide or fertiliser in public areas in the hope of drawing attention to a grievance.

About 90,000 "mass incidents" - a euphemism for protests - occur each year in China, triggered by corruption, pollution, illegal land grabs and other grievances.

In the village of Mazha in Guangdong, residents said protesters had stormed the train station on Thursday "as a stunt to draw the attention of senior officials to issues with land, money, irrigation and housing in Mazha", according to Xinhua.

"Large areas of land were sold cheaply, and many villagers were never properly compensated," one villager told Xinhua.

The protesters were quickly cleared away by the police, who detained 22 for blocking the train and damaging public and private property, the news agency said.

The government has been trying to settle the dispute since September, but villagers have continued to stage protests, the report said.