Since September 2011, hundreds of villagers from Wukan village in Guangdong's Lufeng city have begun demonstrating against illegal land acquisition and last week, armed police entered the village and arrested a number of protest organizers.
Yesterday, it was revealed that a leader of the protesting villagers, Xue Jinbo, was found dead in a police detention center three days after his arrest. Police claimed that he had a heart attack, but his family say Xue was tortured to death. While the villagers are outraged by the suspected murder of Xue and are prepared to carry on struggles with local authorities, many concerned netizens worry that the incident will develop into bloody repression.
According to reports from Hong Kong newspapers, the piece of collective land involved is worth more than RMB 700 million. On September 22, Hong Kong developer Chan Man Ching, along with a large number of local gangsters, forcibly entered the village and beat up the protestors. Thousands of villagers then surrounded the Lufeng county government building on November 21, and local authorities promised villagers that the dispute would be settled village representatives re-elected within 15 days. Below is a short documentary produced by China Sun TV on the Wukan villagers’ protests:
However, when the deadline arrive, instead of fulfilling its promise, the local government took action to arrest protest organizers beginning December 3. In response, the villagers placed the village Communist Party Committee office under siege on December 5. On December 10, thousands of villagers blocked the road to the village upon receiving the news that the police would take action in making widespread arrests.
Armed police surrounded the village
Twitter user @milpitas95035 reported on the situation [zh]:
News of Xue Jinbo's death surfaced at this time. Twitter user @fumanduo helped villagers spread the news via Twitter [zh]:
After the meeting, villagers urged friends and extended family members from Lufeng currently away from the village to come home and protect their homeland. Via @fumanduo [zh]:
Villagers also redecorated the village committee building into a funeral parlor (via @yoke1007):
The suspected murder of Xue makes Beijing reporter Liu Xiannan very pessimistic [zh] about the development of the Wukan incident:
Foreign conspiracy theory again!
Indeed, local media reports are either downplaying the Wukan incident or interpreting it as foreign conspiracy. One bitter peasant writing on Sina Weibo exclaims [zh]:
Twitter user @pangjiaoming is very angry that Guangdong authority has labelled the incident as foreign conspiracy [zh]:
Writer He Sanwei from Sina Weibo points out [zh]:
Political news commentator Zhu Zhiyong rightly points out [zh] that the rhetoric of “foreign intervention” is to justify a brutal crackdown: