‘We’re scared and dare not go out’: food shortage as Wukan in police lockdown after clashes over protest leader’s arrest — Injured afraid to go out for medical care

Food supplies limited and residents injured in clashes can receive only basic medical treatment amid heavy police presence

By South China Morning Post

Wednesday, September 14, 2016, 3:04pm

Wukan in southern China is still in state of lockdown with armed police on patrol and checks in force on people entering or leaving the village after protest leaders were arrested earlier this week.

The remote fishing village in eastern Guangdong province appeared largely peaceful on Wednesday morning, but residents said restrictions on getting into the village were limiting supplies of food and there was a heavy police presence on the streets.

Some villagers have been forced to trek several kilometres over fields and mountains to buy food from neighbouring villages.

One man in his 20s, who refused to give his name, said he saw dozens of SWAT and parliamentary police patrolling main roads in the village.

“They were holding shields and helmets, marching in formation. Most of us don’t dare go out,” he said.

Thirteen people were arrested in early morning raids on Tuesday after villagers had staged a series of protests in support of village leader Lin Zuluan.

He was jailed last week on corruption charges after spearheading villagers’ long-running campaign to protest against land seizures by government officials to make way for development. Lin’s supporters say his confession was forced and his case was politically motivated.

One villager said his wife and at least one of their neighbours were arrested on Tuesday.

“They were both holding national flags, sitting down in the main road during an interval in the clashes. I feel scared. I dare not go out and my brother can’t get in,” he said.

The man’s brother, who left the village early on Tuesday morning, was denied access back into the village last night, without explanation.

 A Wukan villager who was hurt in clashes with police on Tuesday. SCMP photo

Villagers injured by rubber bullets in Tuesday clashes could only receive basic medical treatment at a rural clinic for fear of being arrested or denied entry if they left the village.

Meanwhile, local people said armed police searched door to door on Tuesday evening for national flags in a bid to identify protesters, as well as to drive out journalists.

The predawn raids on Tuesday to arrest suspects accused of public order offences led to a stand-off with police by villagers, with bricks thrown and rubber bullets and tear gas fired.

The clashes quietened down by about 10am on Tuesday, but the stand-off continued.

Tension escalated on Tuesday afternoon at about 4pm when more than 1,000 police, including paramilitary officers, stormed into the centre of Wukan to disperse the crowds.

More than a dozen tear gas rounds were fired as well as countless rubber bullets, according to local people. They described the scene as like a war zone.

Police arrested at least 50 more villagers, including students, on Tuesday afternoon.

The public security bureau in the nearby city of Lufeng has put out a wanted notice for five villagers said to be protest leaders, including one of Lin’s relatives.

A tip-off leading to an arrest will lead to a reward of 100,000 yuan (HK$116,000).

Local people have also been warned not to shelter suspects facing arrest.



Lin Zuluan, chief in Wukan village, is shown in 2014.

Lin Zuluan, chief in Wukan village, is shown in 2014.

China is notorious for its forced confessions and state controlled media…

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