The Telegraph in the UK has an interesting article on unrest inside the Peoples Republic of China. An entire town has revolted against the Communist party machine and chased them out.
The town of Wukan had been selling property to developers and the villagers had been happy at making some money. Or so they thought. Then the economy started to go sour and the villagers needed more than their fishing fleet to get by, they needed land to grow food. That is when the local Communist party leaders sold even more land off, sparking a protest and then the leaders being chased out.
In typical heavy-handed thug behavior, the government in Beijing lashed out. They seized some of the local leaders who were trying to mediate things and tossed them into prison. Where one has now died in capitivity. His family says he was tortured. The government is refusing to release his body. I wonder if Xue's family will be told he was cremated and his ashes scattered into a river ala Tom Clancy in The Bear and the Dragon?
What is atypical is the actions of the government forces. After tear gas and water cannons failed to cow the local populace, they retreated. They now have erected a cordon around the town trying to block anyone from leaving or getting in. They have even blocked the fishing fleet. In the Middle Ages this would be called a siege as the attacking force tries to starve out the encircled garrison. Or wait for disease to break out or treachery. Or all three at once.
It will be interesting to see how this drama plays out. Is Wukan just the tip of the iceberg of revolt bubbling in mainland China? A country where one economist/TV talk show host has descibed each Chinese province as a Greece. A country that is overbuilt in ghost cities. A nation with an imbalance in its population caused by the One Child law.
What will also be interesting is to see how the international community reacts. NATO, UN, EU, and the US were all gung-ho to intervene in Libya for the sake of the people. Will they do the same when it comes to violent oppression by the Beijing government against its own citizens? Stay tuned I guess. And pray for the people of Wukan and all others who are willing to stand up against a brutal and corrupt government.
Update - A thought has belatedly occurred to me why the Chinese officials have pulled back and encircled the town. It is an attempt to control information flow so other towns don't get the same idea. But one has to look back to Tianamen Square in Bejing for probably the real reason. The forces beseiging the town are probably drawn from local levys of conscripts. So they would not be reliable troops since they would identify with the town folks. So like Tianamen, Beijing is probably shipping in a few reaction battalions from another province. It will be these soldiers who will cause the streets of Wukan to run red with blood.
So we in the West really need to shine a spotlight on Wukan. Our governments need spines of steel if international concepts of human rights are to have any meaning. We the people of the world must speak in one voice to oppose any attempt by Beijing to silence the voices of the citizens it is supposed to represent. If the PRC does use violence, again, then there has to be reprecussions.