China should respond in a rational, responsible manner to its people’s demands for the right to own property, among others, a Taiwanese official said yesterday, saying that recent protests in a southern Chinese village indicate a growing awareness of rights in China.
Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Liu Te-shun (劉德勳) said Taiwan is concerned about the protests by Wukan villagers in Guangdong Province in recent weeks against what they said were land seizures by officials and businesspeople.
The protesters said that local authorities had illegally sold collectively owned farm and forest lands in the fishing village to developers without consent and that the money from the sales was unaccounted for, according to reports.
The demonstrations were also related to the death of a 42-year-old villager, who was among 12 people chosen by Wukan residents to negotiate the settlement of the land dispute, the reports said.
In the process, Chinese Communist Party officials were expelled from the village, a move that prompted a police blockade around the area for more than a week.
The stand-off ended on Wednesday after the Guangdong provincial government sent officials to meet with representatives of Wukan residents.
At the meeting, the provincial authorities agreed to investigate the villagers’ land seizure claims, free several villagers who had been detained over the protest and return the body of a resident who had died in detention.
Liu said the council has been closely monitoring developments.
“The series of protests indicates that mainland Chinese people have become more conscious of the need to protect their rights and defend their dignity,” he said.
The council would like to see the Chinese authorities handle people’s demands for basic human rights, property rights and democracy in a rational, responsive and respectful manner, he added.