Thursday, 15 December 2011

Chinese villagers rise up against authorities

CHINESE villagers have risen up in force, expelling corrupt local officials and taking on the police.

Reports The Daily Telegraph: "Trouble in Wukan has been brewing since September, after the village revolted at an attempt to take one of its last parcels of farmland and give it to a major Chinese property developer, Country Garden.

"However it was the death of 43-year-old Xue Jinbo, one of the village’s 13 temporary representatives, in police custody that pushed Wukan into its current fury, and saw the last of the village’s dozen Communist party officials flee. His family believe he was murdered.

"Wukan has been encircled by a police cordon since Sunday, after an attempt by 1,000 armed officers failed to retake the town. No food or water is allowed in, and no villagers are allowed out."

Adds The Financial Times: "Thousands of people from a southern Chinese village protested on Wednesday against the death in police custody of a popular local leader following a standoff over land acquisition and allegations of corruption.

"Xue Jinbo, 43, is believed to have died on the night of December 10. His family saw his body the following evening and reported that it showed signs of bruising – enraging Wukan village in Guangdong province. Local authorities say he died of cardiac arrest.

"Police have responded to the demonstration by blockading the village, residents said, and the term 'Wukan' was blocked on Chinese microblogging sites.

"For the provincial government of Guangdong, which as China’s most industrialised province has faced several protests by workers recently, bringing Wukan under control is proving particularly difficult. Villagers have been demanding the removal and punishment of local officials they claim were involved in a corrupt land deal."

“The police have blocked all the main roads now. We have to go the farthest way round via back roads when we get in and out,” a villager named Zhang told the Financial Times. “Even the rice store is running out. They cut off internet access last night and warned they would cut our electricity today. They haven’t yet.”

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