Former Wukan Chief Sentenced to 3 Years in Jail

Former Wukan Chief Sentenced to 3 Years in Jail

At the South China Morning Post, Mimi Lau reports that Lin Zuluan, the former village chief of Wukan, Guangdong, has been sentenced to 37 months in jail and fined 400,000 yuan after security measures in the village were tightened for the trial.  Lin was a leader of the 2011 protests against the official seizure of public land in Wukan, and was elected as village chief in the democratic concessions that resulted from the uprising. He was detained on June 18, the day before he planned to lead a petition over the still unresolved land disputes, and daily protest has continued in the village since his arrest over two months ago.

Lin Zuluan, 70, pleaded guilty to two corruption charges in the Chancheng district court in ­Foshan,, a provincial online portal, reported.

Lin was found guilty of taking more than 440,000 yuan in bribes in relation to building projects in Wukan and 150,000 yuan in kickbacks in other deals on behalf of the village committee, according to the report. The court found Lin not guilty of a separate charge of rigging bids for official contracts.

Upset by the verdict, Lin’s family said they felt cheated by the “injustice” of the trial. They said they had cooperated with the authorities and thought Lin would get a suspended sentence.

[…] A relative said the trial was “non-transparent”, “unfair” and “unjust”. “The court had 30 seats for the public. Twenty of these were occupied by outsiders chosen at random by the court, five were reserved for appointed ­village members, and rest went to three family members and the two state security agents watching us,” the relative said. [Source]

Lau also noted that the villagers who have been protesting daily since Lin’s June arrest have pledged to begin demonstrating twice a day. Reuters’ James Pomfret provides more on villager dissent and plans to continue demonstrations after the verdict:

Many residents of the fishing village of Wukan, about a four-hour drive northeast of Hong Kong, were outraged and fresh unrest was likely, said a villager contacted by Reuters.

“It’s definitely not just the sentence,” added the villager, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the subject. “He didn’t do anything wrong and he wasn’t even able to hire his own lawyer. The village will fight this.”

Red notices posted around the village called for shops and markets to close and urged residents to rise up in support of Lin, he said. [Source]


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