Anger at a possible land deal boiled over in Wukan, China, after a popular villager chosen to negotiate a solution died in police custody.
"WUKAN, China — Each day begins with a morning rally in the banner-bedecked square, where village leaders address a packed crowd about their seizure of the village and plans for its future. Friday’s session was followed by a daylong mock funeral for a fallen comrade, whose body lies somewhere outside the village in government custody.
It has been nearly a week since the 13,000 residents of this seacoast village, a warren of cramped alleys and courtyard homes, became so angry that their deeply resented officials — and even the police — fled rather than face them. Now, there is a striking vacuum of authority, and the villagers are not entirely sure what to make of their fleeting freedom.
'We will defend our farmland to the death!' a handmade banner proclaims, referring to a possible land deal they fear will strip them of almost all their farmland. 'Is it a crime,” another muses, “to ask for the return of our land and for democracy and transparency?'"