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Thousands rally in China land grab village

Thousands of residents of a Chinese village under police blockade rallied on Thursday to demand the government take action over illegal land grabs and the death in custody of a local leader.

The people of Wukan -- a fishing village in the wealthy southern province of Guangdong with about 13,000 inhabitants -- accuse corrupt local officials of stealing communal land without compensating them.

Wukan has been the scene of repeated and at times violent protests over land seizures, a hugely contentious issue in China, where authorities are accused of colluding with developers in lucrative real estate deals.

Local anger boiled over with the death Sunday in police custody of a village leader tasked with negotiating with authorities over the row. The village, which has been abandoned by local officials, is now surrounded by police checkpoints.

An AFP correspondent at the scene said the village was peaceful but there was an atmosphere of defiance, and anger over the death of Xue Jinbo. Read More

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