China de­tains 13 in ‘rebel’ vil­lage

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

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

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