Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Official Wackiness in Wukan

Wukan Communist Party secretary Lin Zhuluan who is now being detained
The story of bookseller Lam Wing-kee and the ongoing allegations against him and his own rebuttals continue, while Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has been caught completely flat-footed on dealing with this issue, that only demonstrates where his loyalties lie.

But there's another incident brewing in the fishing village of Wukan in Guangdong province, where local residents were protesting land seizures. The authorities tried to shut them up by kidnapping Lin Zuluan, the local Communist Party secretary.

Thousands called for Lin's release on Sunday
They took him from his home in the middle of the night on Saturday and has detained him since. Since then state media have had a field day, with Lufeng prosecutors claiming Lin had allegedly pocketed a lot of bribes through contracting out infrastructure projects.

But villagers didn't believe a word of these allegations and thousands of them continued to protest on Sunday and called for Lin's release.

Then an official claiming to be from the Shanwei prosecutors' office called Lin's wife, Yang Zhen, and put Lin on the phone.

They had hoped he would dissuade her from leading villagers in their protest, but the plan backfired.

Lin's supposed confession of taking bribes
"Do what you think is right as long as it's legal," he said over the phone in the conversation she recorded. "If someone is trying to arrest you, do not go easy on them."

However he also added a warning: "Do not go to a protest just because others told you so."

But since then, Lin has apparently confessed to taking bribes and deputy village party secretary Zhang Shuijin has replaced him, and told villagers not to participate in protest marches.

Yesterday there was a video clip circulating on social media of Qian Hanpei, deputy chief of Donghai town harassing the media with an umbrella when reporters tried to interview him.

Qian Hanpei (white shirt) trying to assault reporters
"You reporters are just like dogs," Qian said when asked of Lin's condition. He was recorded threatening to strike cameramen and reporters with the butt end of his umbrella.

And now Hong Kong media have been accused of "inciting, planning and directing" the Wukan land protests.

Apple Daily and newcomer Initium Media were named by and official in Shanwei in Guangdong province for the turmoil and added measures would be taken according to the law.

This is probably the first time Hong Kong media have been directly blamed for planning and directing mass protests. But Apple Daily's chief editor Chan Pui-man denied the paper was involved in any way other than covering the incident.

How this whole event has played out so far -- and even dragging the media into it is pretty crazy. If anything, Chinese officials haven't thought the plot line carefully and the end result.

Trying to assault reporters does not win brownie points.

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