06/21/2016, 09.07
CHINA
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Wukan local government warns press: You will be punished if you incite population

The southern China village protesting for the release of the leader Lin Zuluan, who fought for the recovery of unlawfully expropriated land. The authorities at an impasse: the man is also the local Communist leader, and has always acted in accordance with national law. The Global Times warns: "The land protests cannot be resolved by democratic means".

Guangzhou (AsiaNews) - The government of the southern province of Guangdong has accused some Hong Kong press of  "inciting, planning and orchestrating" the protests related to the expropriation of the lands of the village of Wukan.

The protests by the inhabitants over the wrongdoings of local political leaders first came to international attention five years ago but has returned to make headlines in recent days over the controversial arrest of village leader Lin Zuluan. Accused of "corruption", the man is a symbol of the demonstrations for justice that shook the southern province of 2011.

An official in Shanwei has pointed the finger at the Hong Kong Chinese-language newspaper, Apple Daily, and against the online media group Media Initium. Speaking during a press conference this morning, the local press office chief Shi Shuoyan said: “We welcome overseas media to interview and report, according to the law and regulations, objectively and fairly”
However, he added, "“However, a few overseas media, have been inciting, planning and directing in Wukan. We will take measures according to the law.” In a very rare move in Chinese national policy the man then mentioned the media outlets under fire by name. Chan Pui-man, director of the Apple Daily, denies the allegations: "We sent people to follow the news, certainly not to do the activities that we are charged with".

Tension remains high in the village. The inhabitants have already proven they are willing to "continue to fight for justice" and demand the return the 2011 protests. The village chief Lin, also the local Communist Party secretary, asked his fellow citizens from prison to " do what you think is right, even if it goes against the directives of the authorities".

Thousands of people took to the streets last Sunday, June 19, and the next day hundreds more signed and posted huge white placards calling for the release of Lin. One protester said: "We have to go ahead with the protests. We believe that the village leader is innocent and has agreed to bear the blame of the situation in our name ". After protests some residents have been "warned" by the police, who arrested two other people: Lin Liyi, the leader’s nephew and his deputy Cai Lichou.

The issue is also worrying the national leadership. Lin Zuluan has been called "a good fellow", and his actions have always complied with the law. However, an editorial in the Global Times - the People's Daily international edition  - warns: "The disputes over property rights cannot be solved merely through democratic means, but only through the law”.

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