PANHE, China — The old woman walked over to the door and peeked out from behind a blue curtain, looking slowly from one side of the street to other. She muttered to those huddled in the room behind her, “the police will come.”
The men, who’d been talking about officials stealing their land in Panhe, fell quiet. They knew what a visit would mean — threats, beatings and then getting dragged off by the police.
In December, a high-profile standoff between residents and Communist Party bosses in a fishing village named Wukan, about 450 miles southwest of Panhe, ended peacefully. That case had some observers wondering if Chinese officials had changed the way they dealt with the intertwined problems of land rights and corruption.
What happened here suggests otherwise. Continue reading