Village has new Party branch after protests

Updated: 2012-01-15 22:31


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GUANGZHOU - Wukan village, which experienced months of large-scale villager protests against local authorities in late 2011, on Sunday set up a new party branch and a work team to prepare for the upcoming re-election of the village committee, according to officials with a provincial work team in charge of the aftermath of the protests.

The new Wukan village branch of the Communist Party of China was expected to organize an impartial election of a village committee that can represent the interests of villagers and help the timely handling of their reasonable appeals, according to the officials.

Starting in September, complaints about land use, financing and the village election in Wukan, Donghai Township in southern Guangdong Province escalated to violent demonstrations by Wukan residents.

The party committee of Donghai Township appointed villager Lin Zulian as secretary of the new village party committee, said the officials, adding that Lin would also lead the preparation work of the re-election of the village committee.

The former village party branch dismissed and the former party chief of Wukan was being investigated, according to the officials.

Provincial authorities in Guangdong began to look into the protestors' complaints on December 20, and an investigation remains underway.

Investigators announced that the protestors had legitimate complaints against officials over wrongdoing concerning land use and financial management. Also, they said that the village head election in February 2011 was invalid after finding several violations, and that another election would be organized soon.

Only with a re-elected village committee, can villagers' appeals be solved, said Wang Yemin, head of the provincial-level investigation team.

The protestors' wrath was defused in late December after Zhu Mingguo, vice secretary of the Guangdong provincial committee of the Communist Party of China, held a direct dialogue with villagers and promised a "fair and open" investigation into the grievances.