Protester freed after China village stand-off ends

Authorities in southern China have freed one of the leaders of a protest by villagers angered by land grabs.

Last Updated: Dec 22, 2011, 23:31 PM IST

Beijing: Authorities in southern China have
freed one of the leaders of a protest by villagers angered by
land grabs; his family said on Thursday, a day after government
concessions ended a long stand-off.

Zhang Jiancheng returned to his home in Wukan, a
fishing village in Guangdong province, today afternoon and has
been ordered not to speak to the media, his younger brother
Zhang Jianxin said by telephone.

"My brother came back home this afternoon. He told me
`I`ve been released on bail so I can`t tell much and I can`t
accept interviews`," Zhang Jianxin said.

"He`s much thinner than before ... he was a very
active person before, but now he looks quite dull."

Another three residents and the body of a fourth, who
died in police custody, will be released in the coming days
under an agreement reached between village representatives and
provincial authorities on Wednesday.

Residents ended an embarrassing stand-off with the
local government after a senior provincial official said their
complaints about land seizures were "reasonable" and agreed to
release three detained protest leaders.

The official also said the government would
investigate the villagers` complaints that Communist officials
have been stealing their land for years and release the body
of community leader Xue Jinbo, who died in police detention.

Authorities say the 42-year-old man suffered a heart
attack, while family members who saw the body said they
believed he had been beaten to death.

PTI