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Ear to the Ground

An Angry Chinese Village Goes to the Polls

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Posted on Mar 3, 2012
AP / Vincent Yu

Xue Jianwan, daughter of a Wukan leader who died in police custody after trying to resolve a land dispute between villagers and the provincial government, casts her vote in the election.

It seems the voice of the people has been heard in the Chinese village of Wukan, where residents voted to elect a committee of seven local leaders after winning a protracted battle for self-determination against Chinese authorities. One voter reported the election was “open and transparent.”

The villagers staged a rebellion in late 2011, wrecking a police station and government vehicles and driving out officials for 10 days after a longstanding local chief sold farmland to developers without their approval. Reformers hope the election will set a standard for the resolution of disputes elsewhere. —ARK

AP via The Guardian:

Similar standoffs in China often end in arrests, but in Wukan the provincial government conceded. It offered to hold the new elections, return some of the disputed farmland and release the detained activists, as well as the body of one who died in detention.

China has allowed village elections for nearly three decades but local Communist party leaders, who hold the real power, often try to manipulate the results. By those standards Wukan is conducting what seems to be one of China’s most free polls.

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By heterochromatic, March 5, 2012 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

thanks for posting this.

it points to what are going to be major problems in China as people begin to
demand more extensive property rights that the state is reluctant to grant. as well,
there is an ever-growing movement for more local authority as a counter to the
centralized power of a one-party state.

some current Chinese are willing to wage war to achieve autonomy.

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