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Official says Wukan protests show rights demands on rise

Communist Party member says local officials' 'hearts were rotten'

Residents of Wukan village in Guangdong province gather for a meeting on December 21 Residents of Wukan village in Guangdong province gather for a meeting on December 21
  • China
  • December 27, 2011
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The senior Chinese official who helped defuse a standoff with protesting villagers has told officials to get used to citizens who are increasingly assertive about their rights and likened erring local governments to red apples with rotten cores.

Zhu Mingguo, a deputy Communist Party secretary of southern Guangdong province, last week helped broker a compromise between the government and residents of Wukan village. Ten days of protests over confiscated farmland and the death of a protest organizer drew widespread attention as a rebuff to the stability-before-all government.

Speaking to officials about Wukan and other protests, Zhu said these were not isolated flare-ups, the Guangzhou Daily, the official paper of the provincial capital, reported today.

"In terms of society, the public's awareness of democracy, equality and rights is constantly strengthening, and their corresponding demands are growing," Zhu told a meeting yesterday about preserving social stability, the paper said.

"Public consciousness of rights defense is growing, and the means used to defend rights are increasingly intense," said Zhu. "Their channels for voicing grievances are diverse, and there is a tendency for conflicts to become more intense."

Zhu also cited protests by migrant factory workers who complained about ill-treatment. These areas where unrest erupted had won praise as "advanced units" - showcases of growth and harmony, noted Zhu.

Not so, he said.

"In these areas there were many problems that were not swiftly identified, and when they erupted, the consequences were even more serious," said Zhu, referring to the response by local officials.

"Like apples, their hearts were rotten even if their skins were red, and when the skins broke, there was a real mess."

Full story: China official says Wukan protest shows rights demands on rise

Source: Reuters
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