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Talks help resolve Shanwei land dispute

By Qiu Quanlin  (China Daily)

09:20, December 22, 2011

SHANWEI, Guangdong - The talk between a village representative and senior officials of a special work group handling a land dispute in Shanwei of South China's Guangdong province was fruitful, a local publicity official said.

The talk on Wednesday was aimed at defusing a long stand-off between local authorities and villagers, who have been protesting for months over seized lands in Wukan village of Shanwei.

"The result (of the talk) was acceptable for both sides," said Liu Jingmao, a deputy publicity director of Shanwei, without elaborating.

The work group, led by Zhu Mingguo, deputy Party chief of Guangdong, arrived in the village and began investigating the dispute that had resulted in a protest in which hundreds of local villagers took part early in September.

Five villagers were held in custody for their roles in the protest, in which six police cars were damaged and more than 10 police officers were injured, according to official figures.

The protest accelerated in the past week after Xue Jinbo, one of the detainees, died in police custody on Dec 11. Villagers reacted by blocking the roads to prevent local authorities from entering the village to conduct an investigation.

Initial medical checks showed that Xue's death was "not due to external force but a sudden heart problem", local government sources said.

"Now, the roadblocks have been removed. And officials of the work group have entered the village to investigate the issue and are willing to listen to villagers' appeal," Liu said.

"Things are going in a good direction," he added.

Zhu said the government would not punish villagers who "show sincerity in working with the government to solve the problems".

Zhu also promised an impartial autopsy for Xue Jinbo, and "transparent" disclosure in the media of how the villagers' grievances were addressed.

"We'll undergo a thorough investigation of the dispute and do our utmost to protect the villagers' rights," he said at a work meeting in which some 400 local officials and villagers participated on Tuesday in Lufeng county, which governs Wukan village.

Wang Yang, Party chief of Guangdong province, said the dispute was "accidental" but also "inevitable".

"This is the result of conflicts that accumulated over a long time in the course of economic and social development. We should take the problem into serious consideration and take effective measures to solve it," he said.

Xue Chang, chief of Wukan Party committee, and village head Chen Shunyi have been removed from their posts for allegedly violating the laws in selling land to property developers.

The Lufeng government has frozen the land project, which involves 27 hectares of farmland, and will compensate the buyers, including a local livestock company and Country Garden, one of the major property developers in China.

 
 
 
 
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