Hit by renewed unrest, Wukan Village is once again in the news. And Beijing is worried.
The News Lens
By: Chang Shin-wei
Five years ago the former village chief of Wukan Village in China’s Guangdong Province was accused of
illegally selling land that had been cultivated by villagers, sparking protests by thousands of villagers in September 2011. As clashes between the residents and the government escalated, the central government in Beijing stepped in and promised to hold an election for village chief and village representatives.
With the people forcing officials to compromise, the incident was regarded in many circles as an example of “grassroots democracy” in China, or the “Wukan experience.”
However, after village chief Lin Zuluan (林祖戀) was arrested on June 18 for accepting bribes, thousands of villagers once again took to the streets.
Lin was the leader of the demonstrations five years ago and was elected village chief in 2012.
Few villagers believe that Lin accepted bribes. One resident says, “We all believe that Lin is innocent. If the government has evidence of him accepting bribes, then why bother to arrest him at midnight?”
A reported 3,500 people gathered on June 21, asking for Lin’s release. [FULL STORY]