Province-level action on the Wukan riots

It would appear that higher levels of government are finally taking action in regards to the Wukan rebellion.

This link contains a screenshot of the local government’s website and highlights key points from a meeting that was held at the provincial level on Tuesday (20th) morning  – what’s interesting here is that the conditions appear to be from Zhu MingGuo (朱明国)who is actually a state government official, not a local government one. He also holds anti-corruption posts.

From what I can tell it seems legitimate and the names referenced in the conditions correlate with media reports.

It outlines a number of conditions:

The first point says that the main demands of the protesters are reasonable and that some of the officials appear to be guilty of some kind of wrongdoing.

It says that the province-level working group needs to investigate the people’s demands, and respond and resolve the demands seriously. It also says that any illegal actions by local officials will need to be properly punished. It says there needs to be real initiatives to restore Wukan, restore its industries and restore the ‘social order.’

The second says most of the ‘overreactions’ by locals are understandable and forgivable and that the party and the government won’t investigate them. Any rioters or vandals that demonstrate their contrition won’t be punished.

The third says that provided you are sincere in your willingness to work with the government, the government is open to all discussions and guarantee the safety of ‘reasonable’ representatives.

The fourth condition says that as long as the villagers don’t break any more laws and don’t protest further against the government, and they are not used by the ‘foreign enemies’ within China, then the government won’t go into the village to seize people.

Number five is directed specifically at organizers ‘Lin Zu Lian (林祖恋)’ and ‘Yang Se Mao (杨色茂)’ along with other ringleaders, saying that they have two months to work towards solving the problem, but they must cease mobilizing people against official government business and the government’s regular duties. In this time, they will be permitted to work towards solving any ‘reasonable 合理’ requests the people have. If they do so, the government will consider leniency.

Number six says that the pair must know that the government has been working towards a reasonable solution, and that if they are stubborn in fomenting unrest while working for foreign enemies, then they will face a severe investigation.

Meanwhile, the propaganda efforts are being cranked up:

Here is a TV report, one of the very few that have screened on the topic, which attempts to calm things down by publicizing a finding by a coroner that Xue Jinbo (the village representative who died or was killed in custody, sparking accusations that he was beaten to death) died of heart problems. The coroner, from the prestigious Zhongshan University in Guangdong, says that although there were some injuries on the deceased, they were only minor and not the cause of death.

This is going to be an incredibly hard sell. Even fairly parochial villagers are aware that people are sometimes beaten to death in police custody.

It would appear that the government is sticking with their ‘iron fist’ and ‘velvet glove’ approach. Media reports have indicated that a number of villagers have already been persuaded to side with the government, in an attempt to divide and conquer.

The government’s strategy is starting to take shape.

UPDATE

Zhu Mingguo along with another senior minister are going to meet with the villagers. More in the New York Times here.

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