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

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    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.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora