Protest leaders elected to key posts in Wukan, China

Discussion in 'Asia' started by Trajan, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. Trajan

    Trajan conscientia mille testes Staff Member

    Jun 17, 2010
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    The Bay Area Soviet
    interesting. so an experiment? a way to shut them up?

    Protest leaders elected to key posts in Wukan
    Land-rights activists gain resounding victory in polls, a small step in returning order to restive village

    Two prominent leaders of land-grab protests in Wukan, Guangdong, were elected village chief and deputy chief yesterday, in a milestone for grass-roots democracy on the mainland.

    Land-rights protesters from elsewhere in Guangdong and across the mainland watched the voting, hoping to learn from the historic event and to seize a rare opportunity to voice their own grievances to the international media.

    The US consul in Guangzhou, Paul Baldwin, was also allowed to watch the proceedings.

    Lin Zuluan and Yang Semao emerged as the people's choices in the most transparent and liberal village election yet seen.

    People in the remote fishing village in the province's east began casting their ballots to elect a seven-member village committee at 9am in the playground of Wukan Primary School.

    Lin won 90 per cent of the votes for village committee chief. He had led the villagers' fight to elect a new village committee and for the return of the body of Xue Jinbo , a protest leader who died in custody in December. Lin was appointed Wukan's party secretary in January after villagers struck a deal with the government following a months-long stand-off.

    Speaking after his victory, Lin said: "Taking the posts of both party secretary and village chief on my shoulders is a very heavy responsibility. My primary job is to get back the land." Wukan villagers say corrupt officials sold 1,700 hectares of collectively owned land secretly.

    Yang, another protest leader, was elected deputy chief of the committee with nearly 53 per cent of votes.

    The turnout yesterday was 83 per cent, roughly the same as the last two preparatory polls, for election committee and village representatives. Xue Jianwan , the daughter of Xue Jinbo, dropped out of the race at the last minute in the evening. Villagers believed she was under pressure from her mother and grandmother.

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