Activist disappears following his arrest Police have detained another farmer involved in a bold campaign to gain ownership of seized farmland as officials try to push ahead with a controversial project despite opposition from the community and a call by the central government to respect farmers' rights. Cui Zhongshan, 56, from Dongzhuang village in Tianjin's Wuqing district, was taken away on Sunday afternoon, and no word of him has been heard since, relatives and villagers said. Mr Cui is one of a number of organisers from Wuqing who, along with farmers from Heilongjiang , Shaanxi and Jiangsu , issued separate but similar online statements in December declaring the villagers had full private ownership of their farmland. The declarations were widely circulated online and viewed as a denunciation of the household responsibility system for failing to protect farmers' rights. Under the system, farmers have only land-use rights. The farmland is owned by ambiguous organisations, which are often represented by village committees, and that vagueness gives rise to rampant corruption and the illegal acquisition of farmland. The campaign has attracted intense interest from mainland activists, many hoping it will eventually foment a second wave of land reform to force the central government to give full ownership of the land to the farmers. Activists who have helped the farmers better understand the law and post the declarations online said farmers elsewhere hoped to follow suit. However, the movement seemed to lose steam under the heavy crackdowns by local governments, which also resulted in pioneers of the campaign - including Yu Changwu and Wang Guilin from Dongnangang village in Heilongjiang, in the far northeast of the mainland - being sent to a labour camp. Farmer leaders from Sanmenxia area in Shaanxi were also arrested. Authorities have repeatedly ruled out the possibility of farmland privatisation. After Mr Cui's arrest on Sunday, police visited other village leaders in Wuqing district and warned them not to leave their homes, according to farmers who say they are under government surveillance. Farmer leaders from six villages in Wuqing district said authorities seized 600 hectares of fertile farmland in 1992 to build a reservoir supposedly to aid flood- and drought-control efforts. But instead, the Matai Reservoir was used for aquaculture, making irrigation for nearby farms extremely difficult. Farmers were furious when they learned some years ago that the government planned to turn the reservoir into a commercial resort and have protested over the issue in the years since. Farmers in Dongzhuang said yesterday that more than 100 thugs were sent to the reservoir in about 30 private cars yesterday morning. '[They] moved in, and they were so numerous. They were trying to intimidate us,' one farmer said. After a standoff that lasted several hours between dozens of farmers and the thugs, construction vehicles moved in and several dozen farmers who stayed were pushed aside to make way for the vehicles, witnesses said. A villager from Shangmatai said police sealed off nearby villages and stopped villagers going to the reservoir.