The city government of Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, said Monday evening that "absolutely no one was killed" during protests against the expansion of a massive oil refinery in the city's Zhenhai district over the past few days.
The official announcement was made after the public security bureau's Sina Weibo posting Monday afternoon that they have found Zheng Chunping, the student who was rumored to have been killed during protests was alive and well.
The police said Zheng is a student at the Ningbo University of Technology.
A Weibo posting on Saturday declared Zheng, 24, was a student at Ningbo University and had died during a confrontation during the demonstration. Photos posted online purported to show people holding a wreath and grieving for Zheng.
A posting on Ningbo University's Weibo Monday said no student by the name "Zheng Chunping" was enrolled at the school and none of its student had died.
Calls to the Ningbo University of Technology where Zheng is a registered student went unanswered late Monday.
Ceng Xiongying, deputy director of Ningbo University's press office, confirmed to the Global Times that the school had conducted an exhaustive search of the student database. "We are concerned about the safety of our students as much as the netizens are. We definitely would not conceal any information."
The local police in Ningbo said on its Weibo late Monday they had detained the person they accused of spreading the rumor. "The woman, surnamed Shi, who posted the rumor, is from Anhui Province."
Police also said one protestor has been put in criminal detention after he was discovered carrying a knife and red chili powder into the demonstration Sunday night.
Violent clashes between thousands of people and the police on three nights beginning Friday were mostly around Tianyi Square in downtown Ningbo and the Yongjiang River Tunnel in Zhenhai district.
At least 52 people had been detained during the protests since Friday, most of them were later released, said the government.
A man who only gave his surname Shen, and was arrested Sunday evening, told the Global Times that he and others were held in a bus inside of the city's government compound for criticizing the treatment of protestors violently.
"After taking our pictures and recording our ID card numbers, we were taken to the police station and released about an hour later," Shen said.
After officials backed off plans for the multibillion-yuan refinery and chemical plant expansion project Sunday, hundreds of people continued to gather near the city government's office building Monday.
Local officials sent text message to all mobile phone users in the city on Monday urging everyone to return to their work and school.