Village party secretary accused of massive fraud
Hundreds of people protested in front of the Guangzhou city government headquarters yesterday, hoping to publicise their grievances by diverting some media attention away from the World University Games' closing ceremony in Shenzhen.
Most came from Wanggang, an urban village in Guangzhou's Baiyun district. Wearing white shirts and holding white banners, they accused village party secretary Li Zhihang of leasing collective land and pocketing more than 400 million yuan (HK$487.5 million) for personal gain, embezzling up to 850,000 yuan from village co-operatives, and intervening in the election of local representatives.
A heavy police presence ensured the protest did not last long. Police removed banners and shoved villagers and reporters around in a minor scuffle. At least two petitioners were removed from the scene.
Meanwhile, several petitioners claimed hundreds of Wanggang villagers blocked the No106 National Road near the village yesterday morning in a synchronised protest.
'It was the last day of the University Games and we wanted to use this opportunity to express our grievances as nobody would take our complaints seriously,' said one 35-year-old villager who is a member of the Wanggang village committee. 'We want to put pressure on the city government to thoroughly investigate our corrupt village secretary.'
Other petitioners outside the city government headquarters protested over issues including medical blunders, pensions and land seizures.