Anti-Corruption Fight Takes Root in Rural China

Sit-in targeting village leaders in fourth month in southern Xiantang
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2007 1:45 PM CDT
People sit near an anti-corruption poster displayed in Beijing...   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Citizens of a southern Chinese town have been occupying the village hall since the beginning of July, seeking recompense for their leaders’ alleged theft of public money. The authoritarian central government hasn't taken action against Xiantang’s activists, who are mostly elderly, the Christian Science Monitor reports; the protest is the latest sign the Communist authorities face trouble “in retaining legitimacy.”

China’s president recently reaffirmed pledges to combat corruption; indeed, protestors in Xiantang say authorities haven’t moved against them for fear of spreading public anger. But neither has the government acted on charges that officials haven't allowed revenue from land sales to trickle down to individuals. For now, there’s no knowing which cavalry will eventually show up—riot police, or the auditors demanded by protestors.