Villager detention death scrutinized

By Wen Ya Source:Global Times Published: 2011-12-13 1:54:11

A villager, who once led a demonstration in a village in Guangdong Province, died in detention on Sunday.

Some villagers suspect that he was beaten to death, but a local hospital said he died of cardiac arrest.

Xue Jinbo, 42, a villager from Wukan, Lufeng died two days after he was detained. The local government said Xue suddenly felt in pain and after emergency resuscitation failed was pronounced dead at Yihui Foundation Hospital in Shanwei on Saturday, according to Guangdong-based

In a timely fashion after Xue's death, leaders from the local government informed his family and comforted them. They also invited the local medical department as the third party to check the treatment process, the report said.

However, some villagers disagreed with the government's conclusions.

 "Xue was tortured to death," a 21-year-old villager, surnamed Zhang, from Wukan told the Global Times yesterday.

According to Zhang, when Xue's family came back from the hospital, they said they saw Xue's nails were missing, several of his ribs were broken, and bruises covered his body.

"The villagers are angry about Xue's death. He was very upright and kind to others. We all respected him," Zhang said, adding that Xue was a representative elected by villagers to negotiate their public affairs with the local government.

Along with Xue, four other villagers were also arrested after they led a demonstration in Wukan in late September. They organized villagers to attack the village committee and destroyed an industrial park, allegedly dealing $330,615 worth of damage, Nanfang Daily reported earlier.

The Shanwei government said the protest occurred because villagers were not satisfied with benefits distribution in their village, as they were utilized by someone with ulterior motives.

Xue Chang, Party secretary of the village, and the vice secretary Chen Shuiyi were removed from their positions, the newspaper said.

The two officials were accused by the villagers of rigging elections during their 40-year tenure.

About 4,000 villagers held demonstrations accusing their village committee of corruption and over land disputes in Lufeng on November 21.

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