Local Authorities Offer Wukan Villagers Negotiations


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And now the latest on protests that have rocked the village of Wukan for more than a week now. Local officials say they're willing to talk to villagers who have been infuriated with a series of land grabs and the death of a farmer who led protests against the grabs. Here's more on the story.

Residents of Wukan village have been rebelling against local authorities for over a week now... protesting the seizure of farmland and the suspicious death of a fellow villager. Now they have removed road blockades after officials offered to hold talks.

[Wu Zuidu, Villager]:
"The city government has promised they will resolve our villagers' problems. I hope they are telling the truth that they can honestly, fairly and openly resolve this. We have expressed our agreement by removing the roadblocks, and the police have also pulled out from the road."

They have held several protests this week in outrage over the death of Xue Jinbo, a protest organizer who authorities say died of natural causes, but villagers believe was beaten to death in custody.

They are demanding that his body be released, along with three other villagers being held.

"If they don't resolve the issue we will continue to campaign. We are so angry, and extremely disappointed that they could detain such a great person and beat him to death. It is so cruel. I have seen this kind of thing on TV and in films, but the things I have seen here in real life are just so disgusting."

Guangdong's official newspaper, the Southern Daily, said the local government offered to negotiate with the developer to return more than 400 acres of land and to compensate villagers.

Protests in China have become increasingly common over corruption, pollution, wages, and illegal land grabs that local officials attempt to justify in the name of development.