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A fight for sovereignty in a tiny Chinese village

Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 01:50

March 30 - Villagers who led a landmark 2011 rebellion in China's Wukan Village say fairness in an election on Monday is threatened by government pressure. Gavino Garay reports.

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2011 was a year of revolt for this Chinese village of Wukan, when some 15,000 rose up against officials who they claim sold off much of their land. The government eventually caved in, and secret ballot elections were held -- an extremely rare move in China's strict one-party system. Elections for the next village chief are supposed to happen Monday. Walking along these streets, you'd never know a vote is happening. This former rebel leader is running for village chief. He was recently taken in for questioning on corruption charges. A move he says is an intimidation ploy by the government to deter him from running. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) FORMER WUKAN VILLAGE REBEL LEADER NOW RUNNING FOR VILLAGE CHIEF IN MONDAY'S ELECTION YANG SEMAO SAYING: "The government is really interfering in this election. This could affect the result of the election, and that's bad. If the government gets too involved, it influences fairness and justice" Some locals don't think Monday's elections will come of much. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) WUKAN VILLAGER MISS LIN SAYING: "If the land was sold then I want them to share with us what we are owed. But of course they haven't. They made promises. So far, they've only repaired roads, and done some things, but there's a lot they haven't done" According to documents reviewed by Reuters, the former party chief sold off roughly a third of the village. And the current village council says less than half of that has been returned.

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A fight for sovereignty in a tiny Chinese village

Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 01:50