A Chinese village protest that tested the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for over a week ended yesterday after officials offered concessions over seized farmland and the death of a village leader, in a rare spectacle of the government backing down to mobilized citizens.
Residents of Wukan, in southern Guangdong Province, had fended off police with barricades and held protests over the death in police custody of activist Xue Jinbo (薛錦波), whose family rejects the government’s position that he died of natural causes, and against the seizure of farmland for development.
However, after talks with officials, village representatives told residents to pull down protest banners and go back to their normal lives — provided the government keeps to its word.
“Because this matter has been resolved, we won’t persist in making noise,” village organizer Yang Semao (楊色茂) told an assembly hall of village representatives and reporters, referring to the protests.
“They’ve agreed to our initial requests,” Yang said.
However, he added a caveat: “If the government doesn’t meet its commitments, we’ll protest again.”
Senior officials negotiating with villagers agreed to release three men held over land protests in September, when a government office was trashed, and to re-examine the cause of Xue’s death, a village organizer said earlier.
Xue’s family and fellow villagers believe he was subjected to abuse that left injuries on his body. The government said an autopsy showed he died of heart problems. Xue was detained over the land protests that broke out in September.
The concessions showed how eager higher leaders were to avoid the risk of fresh violence and bloodshed, said Ting Wai (丁偉), a political science professor at Hong Kong Baptist University.
“I think the local government did not want to make concessions, and then of course when time goes on, the people became more and more frustrated, and now it is really like a bomb, so in order to prevent the bomb from exploding the provincial government has to do something,” he said.
Chinese officials sometimes make low-key concessions to local protests, especially after they are over, and also punish protest organizers. However, Wukan turned negotiations into a rare public spectacle, watched by foreign reporters and discussed within China — despite domestic censorship of news.
The CCP chief of Guangdong, Wang Yang (王洋), obliquely acknowledged that the villagers had cause to complain, in comments yesterday in the Southern Daily, the official provincial newspaper.
“This is the outcome of conflicts that accumulated over a long time in the course of economic and social development,” Wang said, seen by many analysts as nursing hopes of a spot in China’s next central leadership.
BRIBERY CASE: President Tsai Ing-wen accepted Su Jia-chyuan’s resignation as he said that he deeply regretted causing trouble for the president due to the investigation Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) yesterday resigned after his nephew, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), was implicated in a bribery case related to a dispute over the ownership of Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨). “I resigned from the post so that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would not be bothered by it anymore, and the prosecutors can investigate the case in a fair and just manner. I thank President Tsai once again for supporting me. May the country continue to prosper under her leadership,” Su Jia-chyuan said in a statement. The Presidential Office said that Tsai has accepted
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would
‘CROSS-STRAIT CONSIDERATIONS’: Groups said that the Ministry of Education’s policies excluded Chinese and students should not be blocked over political issues The Taiwan International Student Movement yesterday said it would protest today outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei against a policy that excludes some Chinese students from returning to Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 17, the ministry has allowed foreign students from 19 “low risk” and “medium-low risk” countries and regions to enter Taiwan. On July 22, it announced that it was relaxing restrictions to include students from all countries and regions who are graduating this semester and on Wednesday it further expanded entry to students enrolled in degree programs. A letter sent by the ministry on Wednesday to universities did
The military last week sent “no small number” of Marine Corps officers to the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Island, 東沙群島) following reports of a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) drill targeting the islands scheduled for this month. In an interview with Hong Kong’s Bauhinia Magazine published on Saturday last week, PLA National Defense University professor Li Daguang (李大光) confirmed that the Chinese army was planning to stage a simulated invasion of the Pratas Islands in the South China Sea this month. The islands comprise three atolls, with Pratas Island, at 1.74km2, being the largest. They lie southwest of Taiwan proper in the South