Wukan chief jailed 3 years for bribery

By Cao Siqi Source:Global Times Published: 2016/9/9 0:08:39

Lin says he accepts court’s ruling, declines to appeal conviction

Lin Zulian, the former village Party chief of Wukan, South China's Guangdong Province, who gained fame in protests triggered by land disputes in 2011, was sentenced to three years and one month in jail for bribery on Thursday.

According to news site southern.cn, the People's Court of Chancheng district in Foshan, Guangdong found Lin guilty of accepting bribes and sentenced him to three years and one month in prison with an additional fine of 200,000 yuan ($30,000).

Lin said in court that he respected the ruling and will not appeal.

Prosecutors accused Lin of accepting bribes of 443,000 yuan by using his position as the village chief of Wukan in the city of Lufeng to provide services to contractors, accepting kickbacks of 150,000 yuan from the purchase of dredges.

Lin was also accused of rigging bids for specific development contracts, but the court ruled that he was not guilty in this separate case.

"I shall apologize to Wukan villagers and my friends and family members. I will learn from lessons and act in accordance with laws. I trust the court's ruling," Lin said during the trial.

However, Wukan villagers continued to stage a protest against the trial on Thursday morning.

A local resident surnamed Li told the Global Times on Thursday that villagers have been protesting for the past few months.

Li also confirmed that hundreds of Wukan residents gathered in the street at 9 am on Thursday, demanding that the court release Lin.

Lin was placed under investigation for suspected embezzlement on June 16, two days before the village was due to host a meeting to discuss a petition to local government over illegal land grabs.

Lufeng's public security bureau announced the next day that Lin had been placed under coercive measures by the city's prosecutors, urging villagers to cooperate to "safeguard hard-won social stability and avoid radical actions."

In December 2011, thousands of villagers in Wukan attacked the local police station and patrol cars to protest illegal land seizures and the corruption of local officials, according to previous reports.

Their four-month protest eventually led to an unprecedented democratic election in March 2012, in which Lin - who led the protest - was elected Party chief of the village by 6,205 out of 6,812 voters. Lin was re-elected with over 5,000 votes out of 8,000 in 2014.

Upon Lin's arrest in June, thousands of villagers staged a demonstration, marching to local government offices to demand Lin's release and the return of land seized from Wukan village.

A total of 337 of the 394 hectares of land in Wukan that were illegally transferred, allotted or left idle have been returned to the village, the Lufeng local government said in June.

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