Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Chinese officials hold talks with village protesters - 21st Dec 2011

Residents of the southern Chinese village of Wukan held talks with government officials on Wednesday to try to defuse a tense standoff with the authorities following violent protests over land rights.

More than 10,000 residents of Wukan, a fishing village in Guangdong Province, claim land has been seized illegally and then sold by the local government to developers for the past decade.

News of one recent sale of nearly 1,000 acres of land to developers prompted protests by villagers who say they have not received any compensation and rely on the land for their livelihood.

Villagers last week drove out government officials and set up obstacles to prevent the police from entering the village. They say one villager, Xue Jinbo, was beaten to death while in police custody.

Zhu Mingguo, Guangdong's deputy party secretary, met with a local village representative on Wednesday, said Liu Jingmao, a spokesman for Shanwei city government, which administers the area. Liu declined to give details of the substance of the discussions.

In the negotiations, the villagers were seeking the release of four people who had been detained by the authorities, said a villager who gave only his surname, Chen, for fear of reprisals if he was identified. They were also demanding that the government return Xue's body for investigation into the cause of death. Read More