News / Asia

    Chinese Officials Offer Concessions to End Village Protest

    A protester, center, holds up a placard reading: "Supporting Wukan villagers, democracy autonomy" during a candlelight vigil outside the China Liaison Office in Hong Kong to support the Wukan villagers, December 20, 2011.
    A protester, center, holds up a placard reading: "Supporting Wukan villagers, democracy autonomy" during a candlelight vigil outside the China Liaison Office in Hong Kong to support the Wukan villagers, December 20, 2011.

    Residents in the rebellious southern Chinese village Wukan have ended their mass protest against local authorities after officials offered concessions to resolve their grievances. The villagers were protesting the seizure of their farmland and the death of a fellow resident who died while in government custody.

    The most recent troubles in Wukan started in September. At first, angry residents held loud protests against local authorities, whom they accused of confiscating their farmland for development.

    Villagers want answers, concilations

    The opposition intensified this month with activist Xue Jinbo, who was detained after the protests and then died while in police custody. Authorities say he died of natural causes, but Xue's family members, who have not been able to recover his body, say he was badly beaten.

    On Wednesday, village representatives held conciliatory talks with provincial level officials, in which the officials agreed to release three other men detained during the September protests and to re-examine the cause of Xue's death.

    Villager Wu Zuidu gave an initial welcome to the government's promise.

    Wu says he hopes the officials will be true to their word.  He says the villagers have shown their agreement by removing the roadblocks, while police also have pulled back.

    For more than a week, Wukan's residents had blocked the main road into the village and kicked out the local officials in outrage about the land confiscation and the death.
    Although the protests have ended for now, villager Zhang says she and her neighbors are closely watching what happens next.

    Zhang says if the officials do not resolve the issue, Wukan residents will continue to campaign.  She adds the villagers are extremely angry and disappointed that authorities could detain someone like Xue Jinbo and, in her words, “beat him to death".

    At a news conference earlier this week, Zheng Yanhong, the party secretary of Shanwei, the area that oversees Wukan, criticized the villagers for what he called “causing trouble".

    Zheng says it has been very costly for the local government to deploy hundreds of armed police around the village.

    In an impassioned plea, he also urges the villagers to have sympathy on government officials whose lives, he says, are getting more difficult.

    He says their responsibilities are increasing and their power and leverage are fading.  He says the public has become more demanding and difficult to, in his words, manage.

    Bolder, more demanding


    Sharon Hom, of the New York-based organization Human Rights in China, says the Wukan incident reflects an important and growing refusal by ordinary Chinese to simply accept the government's explanations for everything. She points to public anger after a train crash in the eastern town, Wenzhou, in July as another similar example.

    “It's a growing demand for accountability in incidents like this.  And, you see it as part of demanding for accountability and some truth-telling in the Wenzhou train crashes - the fury of people just not being told the truth,” Hom said.

    And, although state-run media reports on the events in Wukan were scarce, Chinese engaged in a lively debate online.

    Many comments welcomed the non-violent resolution of the tensions there, while some said Wukan villagers had obtained a victory.  Others, though, expressed concern that after public attention fades, the authorities will go after the organizers.

    You May Like

    Multimedia US Observes Memorial Day With Wreath-laying, National Concert

    Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora