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Wukan village representatives told protesters to go home yesterday after reaching a deal with provincial-level communist party officials. Wukan made headlines last week after villagers kicked out local officials and police during a protest over the death of one villager.
A Chinese village protest that tested the ruling Communist Party for over a week ended on Wednesday, in a rare spectacle of the government backing down to mobilized citizens.
Residents of Wukan protested and fended off police over the seizure of farmland for development and the death of activist Xue Jinbo in police custody. The local government claims Xue died of natural causes, but villagers believe he was beaten to death.
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.
Hundreds of villagers lined the roads leading into the village on Wednesday morning to welcome Guangdong Province's vice Party Secretary, sent after villagers threatened to march on local government offices.
But the vice secretary never came to Wukan, and village representative Lin Zuluan went to meet him in the city instead.
Upon Lin's return, he announced that authorities agreed to release three men held over land protests in September and to re-examine the cause of Xue Jinbo's death.
[Lin Zuluan, Village Representative]:
"This is now an open channel for communications with the officials to solve the village's problems."
Villagers have since pulled down banners demanding justice. But not everyone is convinced by the government's pledge.