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What next in China’s Wukan stand-off?

• The Zettabyte Chronicles

A stand-off between a group of determined villagers and local government representatives in China’s southern province of Guangdong is currently adding to the formidable workload of country’s indefatigable army of Internet censors.

The name of Wukan is being ‘scrubbed’ from the Chinese Internet after the plight of the village’s inhabitants became a cause celebre among Chinese netizens for their stubborn protest against land seizures by corrupt local officials.

Simmering since September, the story received international attention when it was revealed that one of the village negotiators, whom the authorities suspected of being a ringleader, died in police custody after being snatched on December 9.

While events are being reported outside China, the country’s censors have put a lid on the story within, shutting a temporary window when videos and photographs of the village protest and the attempted police crackdown were easily shared among China’s Internet users. The village has been sealed off by a police cordon that is preventing food and supplies from crossing to the villagers.

The good news is that negotiators on both sides appear to be reaching a rapprochement of sorts with the authorities trying to calm the situation after a forceful crackdown using hundreds of police failed dismally. Here are the latest developments from Radio Free Asia and the China Media Project.


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