Residents of an eastern Guangdong village are to demonstrate over what they say is illegally grabbed land – nearly five years after a similar protest drew international attention. Villagers in Wukan claim a variety of individuals, companies and property developers have stolen communal land, possibly with political backing, and say they will stage a protest next week. The issue has been simmering since their demonstrations in 2011, which involved a months-long stand-off between the defiant villagers and the authorities. Grass roots leader withdraws from politics as Wukan loses faith in democracy experiment The 2011 protest ended when the provincial government agreed to allow the villagers to directly elect their administrators, but Guangdong’s Communist Party boss Hu Chunhua might find the latest action more difficult to solve. Documents signed by the Wukan village administration, including a letter seeking approval to petition and a draft speech aimed at villagers, began to surface on the internet this week. The draft speech, by Lin Zuluan, a 72-year-old village party secretary who was directly elected, says the people of Wukan are preparing to sacrifice more than they did in 2011. Over the past four plus years, the sky of Wukan has lingered in darkness before dawn Lin Zuluan, village party secretary “Over the past four plus years, the sky of Wukan has lingered in darkness before dawn,” Lin’s speech says. “The people of Wukan paid a tremendous price [in 2011] but we are prepared to pay some more. “Just make sure we comply with laws and regulations in the [demonstration] which you have demanded to address land problems and tackle the inaction of local governments over the past [five] years.” In an apparent move to distance himself from his family to protect them from reprisals, Lin has said he will divorce his wife and transfer his property to her. This is the last cry in utter helplessness. To petition on your knees, begging officials no longer works Zhang Lifan, political analyst Beijing-based political analyst Zhang Lifan said: “This is the last cry in utter helplessness. To petition on your knees, begging officials no longer works.” Eroded by years of corruption, the village made international headlines in September 2011 for demonstrating against the Donghai township and Lufeng city governments. The protests saw residents clash with police, block village entrances and declare a new self-ruled village administration. The protests lasted three months before the provincial government offered to allow villagers to elect their own leaders. Wukan elects village chief, but not all are happy Since then, a steady drip of elected village leaders have either resigned or been imprisoned on corruption charges – while the land disputes remain unresolved. “This has frustrated villagers – that’s why we see locals planning to take their grievances to the streets again,” Zhang said. Zhang said Hu faced a difficult period ahead of next year’s Communist Party congress, where politicians will jockey for position. “This is a critical test for Hu’s career – can he keep the top leadership and the grassroots happy?” Zhang said.