Southern Chinese village defies officials to demand democracy
SHANGPU, China (AFP) - Villagers in southern China were locked in a standoff with authorities on Sunday and were demanding democratic polls after a violent clash with thugs linked to a local official over a land transfer.
Just over a week ago, residents of Shangpu in Guangdong province fought with scores of attackers whom they claimed were sent by the village communist party chief and a business tycoon after they protested against a land deal.
Now police are blockading the settlement to outsiders while residents refuse to let officials inside, days before the annual meeting of the country's legislature, the National People's Congress (NPC).
The situation recalls a similar episode in Wukan, also in Guangdong and around 100km from Shangpu, which made headlines worldwide 15 months ago.