Chinese Police Surround Southern Village Following Protests

Posted December 14th, 2011 at 8:45 am (UTC-5)
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Villagers in China's southern Guangdong province said Wednesday that riot police have sealed off their village in an effort to silence protesters who have been holding demonstrations against alleged illegal government land grabs.

Residents in the village of Wukan said food and water supplies are running low as a result of a partial siege that has been in place since late last week.

Local residents say police have restricted the flow of supplies, interfered with Internet access and blocked roads into the fishing village of 20,000 people.

Villagers have constructed makeshift barriers on roads leading into the city ahead of a feared police crackdown.

Residents say corrupt local officials working alongside land developers have unfairly seized hundreds of hectares of land in Guangdong.

In September, public anger over the land grabs erupted, when hundreds of villagers took part in several days of demonstrations that turned violent.

Last week, police arrested five people in relation to the September protests. One of the suspects, 42-year-old Xue Jinbo, died in police custody after police say he experienced heart failure. Xue's death further angered residents, who suspect that he was beaten by police.