Wukan Village Revolt, Evidence of Growing Social Unrest in China
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Wukan, a southern Chinese village of between 13,000 and 20,000, has witnessed growing unrest since September, when protests erupted over charges that local Communist Party officials were profiteering from the confiscation of farmland that was to be developed into expensive villas. After several representatives of the protest movement were taken into police custody two weeks ago, villagers reacted by driving out local government officials and police and blocking their return with felled trees on local roads. One dissident detained died while in police custody, which protesters believed was a result of a severe beating, further increasing tensions. In recent days, however, Communist authorities agreed to a compromise with protesters, giving in to their key demands to return some of the confiscated farmland and to release protesters earlier detained by police.