China: 27 villagers detained after land-grab protests in Shantou

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At least 1,000 villagers from Liantang village in Guangdong protested outside the city government’s office building on Friday

He Huifeng, South China Morning PostMonday, 29 September, 2014

At least 27 villagers in Shantou, Guangdong were detained by police on Saturday for allegedly inciting a two-day protest over the sale of their land and corruption.

Thousands of villagers from Liantang village clashed with hundreds of police and government officials on Friday and Saturday in front of the Shantou municipal government building.

They said village officials had sold their collective land and never shared the profits with villagers. The demonstrations ended on Saturday night and local public security officers took away 27 people on suspicion of spreading rumours or disturbing public order and causing trouble.

Two villagers told the South China Morning Post that some villagers died in Friday’s clash when police used batons and tear gas to disperse them.

Those claims could not be verified by the Post, while the Shantou government and local official media only mentioned injuries among officials and public security officers.

Villagers posted photos online of several villagers – some of them elderly – who were bleeding heavily after the clashes in front of the municipal government building. Local officials were unavailable for comment yesterday.

“Several elderly people and women were beaten when they tried to break through police lines. They threw rocks and bottles at the government building and tried to kick open the gate,” said Wang Wei, a Shantou resident.

“The villagers planned the protest and set out to the municipal government building on Friday after we heard an anti-graft team from the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection had arrived at Shantou to inspect corrupt officials,” said another villager.

The municipal government said in a statement that activists had been warned to turn themselves in within three days or face serious punishment. Villagers who shielded them would also be punished.

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