A standoff between police and residents in China's Wukan village continues. While police are surrounding the village, residents are not giving up. But with an increased police presence, it is getting harder for the villagers to smuggle in food and many are already running out of supplies.The pessimists who responded to the link to yesterday's post on my Facebook wall look like they will be proved right. My response to them was "The best bet is that the central government arrests the local officials, then restores order. I'm not optimistic about that." I'm even less optimistic now.
Wukan—the first village to break away from local Chinese Communist Party control since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.
Villagers have been protesting land grabs by Communist officials that have gone on for ten years. After one of their representatives died in police custody a week ago, they drove out all local Communist officials and police from the village.
The 13-thousand villagers are now in a standoff with police who have surrounded them. Authorities have also cut off the electricity and water supply to Wukan.
One villager told NTD local authorities have tried to trick them into going to local government offices to be interrogated.
[Wukan Villager]: "My relatives have all received phone calls. The local government phones their homes saying they're their child's teacher and are notifying them to go to city hall for a meeting. So they thought this was very suspicious and didn't go."
The number of police surrounding the village is also increasing.
[Wukan Villager]: "There are twice as many today as there were yesterday. From their uniforms you can see they are police, accompanied by People's Armed Police and SWAT teams."
But how long can the standoff continue? It's getting more difficult to smuggle supplies into the village. Villagers reportedly only have seven days worth of food left.
[Wukan Villager]: "A small number of people have some rice saved, but the vast majority of people are eating instant noodles. Some poor families already have nothing to cook and are relying on donations of 50 cents or 1 or 2 yuan from Wukan villagers to buy food."
While the Wukan protest has been getting coverage from major media around the world, China's state run news outlets have remained silent. Searches for Wukan on the website of The People's Daily yielded no results.
Authorities fear other areas may be inspired by Wukan to take control in their villages. The Wukan villagers have already set up a temporary local council and are demanding Communist authorities allow them to choose their own leaders.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
The situation in Wukan escalates
NTDTV has an update on the video I posted yesterday.