BEIJING (AFP) - Police were struggling to restore order Saturday in a central China city hit by riots following a mans death in a government-linked hotel, local residents and a human rights group said. The unrest in the city of Shishou in Hubei province saw violent clashes between police and thousands of residents amid suspicions over the cause of the mans death Wednesday, a resident said. There were at least 10,000 people gathered near the hotel on Friday. Police were being chased away by residents, who were hitting the police, a woman employee at a nearby hotel told AFP by phone. The woman, who would not give her name, said she also saw police vehicles that were damaged or overturned. She added that large crowds were still present on Saturday near the Yonglong hotel where the man was a chef. The official Xinhua news agency reported that more than one thousand people crowded outside the hotel at 5pm (0900 GMT) Saturday, with hotel walls blackened by fire, it said. The clashes occurred after the mans parents raised suspicions about the nature of his death, the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said in a statement. The report, which quoted local sources, also said the owner of the hotel where the man died was known to be a relative of the citys mayor. The centre quoted sources saying at least 200 people were injured in the clashes and that police reinforcements were arriving. The female hotel employee said a person had fallen to their death years earlier from the same hotel, adding to the suspicions of local residents. A person who answered the phone at the city government headquarters on Saturday dismissed the reports. There are a lot of rumours floating around, said the man, who declined to give his name. Staff at the local police headquarters declined comment to AFP. However, a report by the official China News Service said the city government had sent out a notice on Friday acknowledging there was an abnormal death. It identified the man as 24-year-old hotel chef Tu Yuangao. It quoted the notice as saying local authorities concluded Tu had killed himself and that a suicide note had been found, but that Tus parents had rejected that conclusion. China sees tens of thousands of large-scale riots each year, often sparked by allegations of government corruption and other official abuses.