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Chinese Village, Beijing Wage War

Residents drive out Communist officials in standoff
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2011 12:21 PM CST
Wukan Protest: Villagers Drive Out Communist Leaders in China
Chinese police in riot gear man a roadblock on a route to the village of Wukan in Guangdong province, southern China.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – An entire village in China is locked in a rare public standoff with the government. The 20,000 villagers of Wukan in southern China have chased off their Communist leaders and are now encircled in a police cordon, reports the Telegraph. Supplies are running low, though villagers are smuggling in relief from at least one neighboring town. They're also arming themselves and bracing for a fight, notes the New York Times. The dispute goes back to September, when village officials (the ones who have since fled) took land from farmers and gave it to developers.

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Residents say they got ripped off in the deal and staged protests that were put down with great force by police. Tensions exploded anew this week when one of the villagers sent to negotiate with the Communist Party died in police custody. Village demands are pretty straightforward: "We want them to admit responsibility for the bloodshed when the riot police beat us in September, admit that we have a legal complaint, admit that the village representatives are a legal negotiating team, and to return all of our land to us, for us to split evenly among the villagers." (Read more China stories.)

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