Chinese revolt leader becomes village chief of Wukan

Lin Zulian Lin Zulian shot to fame as the leader of the protesters in the Chinese village of Wukan.

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The leader of protests against land grabs in a southern Chinese village has been appointed its new chief.

Lin Zulian will head the new Communist Party Committee in Wukan and organise elections for a new village committee.

His predecessor is under investigation for alleged corruption.

Anger in Wukan over land seizures by officials resulted in an open revolt against local party leaders in December.

The villagers' key demands - including removing two local officials from their posts - were granted by officials amid considerable public backing for the villagers.

The move was seen as a rare compromise by the Chinese government.

'Important move'

Mr Lin on Sunday replaced the incumbent Wukan chief, a businessman who had headed the village for decades but who local people accused of land grabs.

"This is a decision that everyone in Wukan supports and it is an important move that will help resolve the land and village finance disputes," a villager with the surname of Zhang was quoted by news agency Agence France Presse as saying.

Protests began to simmer in Wukan, in Guangdong province, in September and escalated into deadlock after the death of a village negotiator in police custody.

Villagers said officials sold off their land to developers and failed to compensate them properly.

They also called for an investigation into the death of Xue Jinbo, who died on 11 December while in the hands of local police. Police say he died of a "sudden illness", but his family say he was beaten to death.

In December deputy provincial Communist Party secretary Zhu Mingguo met village representatives and reached an agreement to end the stand-off.

There are thousands of protests over land grabs in China each year, with the Wukan protest becoming a symbol of public outrage at perceived injustices.

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