Wukan uprising: After kicking out government, Chinese town gets new leader, new elections


Villagers listen to a speech by village leader Lin Zulian (L) at a rally after he met with a senior government official and reached an agreement over illegal land grabs and the death in custody of a local leader in Wukan, Guangdong Province on December 21, 2011. Chinese authorities have agreed to release three villagers detained for leading September protests against land grabs, a community spokesman said December 21 after meeting a senior official.


Mark Ralston

BEIJING, China — The Chinese village that rose up and kicked the government out is getting a new government.

This time, according to several Chinese media reports, Lin Zulian, the man who represented Wukan's angry villagers' complaints to higher government officials will be the town's Communist Party of China representative. And local elections will come.

More from GlobalPost: "The Wukan Model"

In Wukan, villagers outraged over local government corruption and land seizures erupted into riots in December, chasing the local government out of town and demanding change and fair elections. The final outcome remains to be seen, but multiple commentators and China-watchers have eyed Wukan as a potentially new model for China's government, notoriously tough on dissent, to deal with discontent among its citizens.

Related: In South China, has people power gone mainstream?

One local told the Global Times newspaper there's new optimism in Wukan.

"Generally speaking, we are satisfied that Lin is heading the Party committee after the special investigation team dispatched by the provincial government came to the village to find out the truth and restore order," he told the newspaper, and then said:

I hold a positive attitude toward the new leader, as he was respected by us when we were fighting for our rights. And I hope he will not let us down and [will] lead the village to prosperity.