Police have blocked roads leading to the village of Wukan. Local people are trying to keep them out.
The row - over village land taken by the local government - has been simmering for some time.
A new wave of protests broke out several days ago after the death of a villager while in police custody.
It is not easy to get information about what is going on in the area. One local official denied there was a problem.
But it appears that villagers have held a series of protest rallies over recent days involving hundreds of people.
A video of one demonstration, posted online, shows angry protesters shouting slogans such as "Down with corrupt officials".
"We will continue our fight until the end," one man told the BBC. Read More