06/22/2016, 13.28
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Not just Wukan: an "epidemic of legality" invades Guangdong

The fight against corruption and the expropriation of land led by the "symbol" village in the rich southern province pushes the bordering areas to report the same abuses. But funds are lacking for protests as well as "clean and capable" leaders to confront the government. Lin Zuluan, village chief and Communist Secretary of Wukan, "confesses" to have taken bribes. And on the Global Times website users ask: "Have you tortured him?".

Guangzhou (AsiaNews) - The forced seizure of land, the total absence of legal or political representation and corruption of public officials not only affects the "symbol" village of Wukan, but also the neighboring counties. The democratic protests and struggles led by the small village of Guangdong against corruption and embezzlement of local leaders has encouraged residents of nearby areas to report the same problems. But they have failed to generate public attention because they lack financial support and leaders capable of uniting the people.

Liu Yongjian lives in Xialongtan - about five kilometers from Wukan – and he told the South China Morning Post: "Officials from my village have earned about 200 million yuan [nearly 27 million Euros ed] by selling common land, a hotel and other two real estate properties owned by the people. We were also involved in long-standing land disputes, but their momentum was lost three years ago when one of our petition leaders was jailed for causing disturbance".

According to Liu, the Wukan residents were able to demonstrate long-against abuses because they live with less economic pressure than the others: "They too were poor, many years ago, but many citizens went to Hong Kong and they are built a new life. Now they provide financial support to the village. With that money survival is guaranteed, even in case of defeat. Residents have gained confidence and came together, knowing they will not have to worry about anything".

A few minutes drive from the "symbol" village is Longtou, where 600 thousand square meters of public land was sold by local officials without the consent of the population. The government has paid between 300 and 400 yuan per square meter to residents, but sold them at a price between 2 thousand and 3 thousand yuan. A resident says: "Unlike Wukan, we do not have the money and the competent representatives to guide us. A clean and capable leader is a vital factor for the success of the protests. Lin Zuluan, chief of Wukan, has these characteristics. And this has helped him to lead his people”.

Arrested in recent days on suspicion of corruption, Lin "confessed" yesterday to his crimes during a videotaped press conference: "I received great profits from development projects for public welfare, and I sold the common land because of my ignorance of the law. It's my most serious crime, but now I give up and I want to confess everything. "

Chief Prosecutor of Shanwei’s People’s Court, Yuan Huaiyu, explained to the media that "coercive measures were taken against Lin, after three months of investigation born of complaints received at the beginning of the year". The village chief is also secretary of the local Communist Party, and his supporters marched yesterday with the flags of the CCP (see photo) demanding  "justice and freedom" for their leader.

The Global Times, "partner" newspaper of the People's Daily, published a long article today - in the "Highlights" - the "conclusion of the Wukan case ". Some comments in the online edition, however, have highlighted several flaws in the investigation. "Liang5a", site user, writes: "What exactly does 'coercive measures' mean? Is it torture? I hope the investigation is more open in the future, and I think it would help to know what exactly we mean when we say bribes: Who bribed taken Lin? How big are those bribes? What favors did he give for them? Before you declare him guilty, these questions must receive a government response from". And "A Concerned foreigner" comments: "Well well ... Another coerced confession in China”.

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See also
Wukan local government warns press: You will be punished if you incite population
21/06/2016 09:07
Iran bans torture and forced confessions
16/10/2020 13:14
Protester dies in jail. Riots over confiscated land on the rise
Kalpitiya: Muslim woman defeats mega tourism project over land expropriation
World Bank and Vietnamese Church against forced expropriations: they halt development


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