It’s official: Wukan 2.0 is taking place in Panhe (泮河), a small village of about 5,000 souls in coastal Zhejiang Province. As Tea Leaf Nation reported on February 7 and February 8, based on reports circulating in the Chinese blogosphere, and as now confirmed by the Global Times, at least 200 villagers staged three protests starting on February 1 of this year against the alleged illegal seizure of their land.
As previously reported on China.com and by the World Journal, over the past several years Panhe’s Village Committee had sold off piece after piece of the village’s land without the villagers’ knowledge. This led to violent confrontations in June and October of last year between villagers and companies that had moved in to mine the land they had purchased. In response, the local government arrested nine villagers, of whom two remain in custody.
Reporters from the Global Times have met with villagers who claim that despite their proposal of several solutions to resolve the crisis, the government has refused all their requests and that policemen have blockaded the village, beating and arresting dozens of people.
One netizen, who shall remain anonymous, tweets “Pay attention! Zhejiang Province, Cangnan [County], Panhe Village! Please retweet – it’s happening now!!! Government personnel and villagers are fighting again. They have started to attack the villagers and arrest people again!”
In related news, netizen are tweeting about Dutch reporter Remko Tanis and French reporter Baptiste Fallevoz and his assistant, Jack Zhang, who were allegedly beaten by plainclothes police while trying to interview villagers in Panhe. The website Chinamedia.com claims however that only the French reporter’s assistant was actually beaten.
One netizen who shall remain anonymous reports, “The reporters think their attackers were plainclothes police while the local police claim the perpetrators were local villagers.” The Foreign Correspondents Club of China issued a confirmatory statement that a Dutch reporter interviewing villagers in Panhe was beaten up on Wednesday by men who appeared to be plainclothes police.