China detains 13 in ‘rebel’ village
BEIJING: Chinese authorities detained 13 residents of the rebel village of Wukan yesterday, police said, after jailing its chief – who was elected after leading protests against Communist officials – on corruption charges.
Wukan, a 13,000-strong fishing village in the southern province of Guangdong, became a symbol of resistance against corruption after a mass uprising over allegedly illegal land grabs propelled it onto global front pages in 2011.
Lin Zulian, who played a key role in those protests, was detained in June, and police said that since then villagers had “continued to fabricate rumours and deploy measures such as threats, insults, force and bribes to instigate, plan and launch illegal mass gatherings”.
The detentions were for “disturbing the public order and public transport order”, police said on an verified social media account.
After the arrests, villagers clashed with police, with security forces using tear gas and rubber bullets, the South China Morning Post newspaper reported.
Villagers threw stones at police with riot shields, according to a video posted on the newspaper’s website.
Photos published by the newspaper showed bloodied residents, and others wearing motorcycle helmets and holding bricks.
The 2011 protests in Wukan were initially seen as just another bout of social unrest in China, where tens of thousands of such incidents occur each year.
But when a protest leader died in police custody, residents took their demonstrations further, barricading roads leading into Wukan, and effectively expelling security forces for more than a week.
Communist Party authorities unexpectedly backed down and promised rare concessions, including pledges to investigate the land dispute and allow village polls to be held in an open manner – a first in Wukan.
Lin, 70, was one of the successful contenders. He was convicted of corruption last week and sentenced to three years in prison after confessing to accepting bribes worth some 590,000 yuan (RM370,000), the official Xinhua news agency reported. – AFP