Fri, Sep 02, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Chinese police arrest hunger strikers

AFP , BEIJING

Around 100 people began a hunger strike Wednesday in southern China over a village chief's alleged corruption and a dispute over land requisition, villagers said as police arrested several protestors.

Dozens of residents of Taishi village in Guangdong Province have been protesting in front of the Panyu district government office for the past few days to demand it remove Chen Jinsheng, they said.

It is the latest in a series of protests over land rights in rural China and highlights the increasingly contentious problem which threatens to boil over into larger-scale conflicts across the country.

As of early Wednesday, around 100 villagers had stopped taking food in a desperate move to force the government to oust Chen.

They accuse him of selling their farmland to property developers without their approval and embezzling village funds.

"If they don't remove him, we will stage this hunger strike indefinitely. If there is no answer, we won't go," said a villager surnamed Huang.

He said about 100 police officers descended on them and arrested three or four protestors.

"They are arresting people who are talking on mobile phones or are taking photos," said another villager, Feng Jianming.

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