Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. China News .

Wukan protest leader flees China, seeks US asylum
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) March 26, 2014

A leader of protests in a Chinese village that grabbed worldwide attention when it rebelled against local Communist Party authorities in 2011 has fled to the United States to seek asylum, he told AFP on Wednesday.

The departure of Zhuang Liehong underscores the troubles of Wukan, in the southern province of Guangdong, has faced since winning free elections after months of fierce demonstrations.

Wukan residents ousted their longtime leadership after discovering land sales which they called self-serving and illegal, a common source of popular anger across the country.

Zhuang was one of several organisers elected to the village committee in 2012, in what was celebrated as a rare successful popular uprising in a one-party state that quashes dissent.

But he fled China in January after another protest erupted, fearing that police would hold him responsible.

"For sure I would be locked up," he said by phone from New York, talking about what might happen if he returned. "They can use any crime to put you away, and you will have no way to fight back.

"I had no choice. I had to leave," he said, adding that he preferred to stay in China near his family and work opportunities, but was preparing to apply for asylum in the US.

In the weeks ahead of new elections scheduled for March 31, Wukan's two deputy chiefs Yang Semao and Hong Ruichao, also originally protest leaders, have come under investigation for corruption.

Many villagers believed the inquiries were meant to block them from standing at the polls, said Xiong Wei, a researcher who studied the Wukan uprising and runs a think-tank in Beijing that looks at legal and rural issues.

Besides Yang and Hong there were few strong candidates, Xiong said, adding that he has been in touch with their families as well as Zhuang.

"As I understand it, in the committee elections, the villagers will basically lose," he said. "No one else has influence."

Zhuang agreed, saying: "It's very clear that the authorities just want to control the situation in Wukan.

"The authorities very obviously want to prevent Yang and Hong from taking part in the election," he added, defending both by saying they "have not gotten one cent".

Yang was accused of taking bribes in public projects, China's state news agency Xinhua reported, while Hong was charged with bribery connected to building projects, said the official blog of Lufeng city, which administers Wukan.

Yang -- who has been freed from detention to help prepare for the elections -- told AFP by phone: "Objectively speaking I didn't get any benefits".

He and Hong told AFP in December that, regardless of corruption allegations, the village committee had lost popular support over its inability to reclaim land sold off by their predecessors.


Related Links
China News from

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Michelle Obama touts equality, religious rights in China
Beijing (AFP) March 25, 2014
US First Lady Michelle Obama promoted ethnic equality, the civil rights movement and religious freedom in China on Tuesday, raising the sensitive issues on a tour meant to avoid politics. "In America, we believe that no matter where you live or how much money your parents have - or what race or religion or ethnicity you are - if you work hard and believe in yourself, then you should have a ... read more

MtGox says co-operating with Tokyo police

US moves to push global trade deal on green goods

Chinese leader means business on lavish French trip

Taiwan president agrees to meet trade pact protesters

Flood of dead pigs in China reservoir: report

Stanford professor maps by-catch as unintended consequence of global fisheries

Research reveals true value of cover crops to farmers, environment

Small, compact hyperspectral sensor ideal for farm field

France calls for more European troops for C.Africa mission

Chinese nationals held in Nigeria for illegal fishing

Peacekeepers seize large weapons cache in C. Africa

French kill jihadist commander in Mali

Hyundai to build fourth China plant

Volvo Cars returns to profit on China sales, cost cuts

Polluted Paris forces half cars off the road

Gold-plated car shines at Geneva Motor Show

US, Japan in historic plutonium return deal

Study on element could change ballgame on radioactive waste

Shale could be long-term home for problematic nuclear waste

AREVA and Novinium to Provide Cable Rejuvenation Services to the Nuclear Industry

Quantum physics secures new cryptography scheme

Robot Snowden promises more US spying revelations

NSA can retrieve, replay phone calls: report

NATO websites targeted in attack claimed by Ukrainian hackers

Ukraine's navy at end of rope in Crimea

US, China first ladies in Beijing's Forbidden City

Ukraine troops returning from Crimea 'heroes': ministry

India says report on '62 war with China to stay classified

Australian wind energy industry growing up

Wind farms can provide society a surplus of reliable clean energy, Stanford study finds

A new algorithm improves the efficiency of small wind turbines

Taming hurricanes

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.