Chinese villagers clash with police, injuring 27

Chinese villagers clash with police, injuring 27

Beijing (AFP) - Villagers in southwestern China injured 27 police as they attacked officers attempting to arrest two suspects in an apparent dispute over land sales, state-media said Wednesday.

One officer was left in critical condition following the clashes on Tuesday in Yunnan province which damaged more than 30 government vehicles, the state-run Xinhua news agency said.

About 200 residents blocked a road in the village of Guangji, detaining officers who were seeking to arrest two villagers on suspicion of "illegal detention and causing intentional injury," Xinhua said. The clashes occurred after police reinforcements were dispatched.

Xinhua said 26 officers received "differing degrees of injury," with one still in critical condition. It said that no villagers had been injured during the clashes.

Other police officers were initially held in the village but had fled by Wednesday afternoon, the report said.

The violence appeared to stem from a dispute over the seizure of land, with Xinhua reporting that after the incident local officials pledged to "respect the wishes of villagers...concerning their demands over land acquisition."

Police arrested two village "rights defenders" on Tuesday, the Beijing News reported. The newspaper said that "village representative," Wang Chunyun and his father were released later the same day.

"The mass incident occurred because of land acquisition," the report said.

Experts have estimated that China sees as many as 90,000 "mass incidents" - an official term for social unrest, each year, with state-backed land-grabs one of the main causes of violent resistance.

Villagers often complain that they are poorly compensated for land which is sold by local governments to property developers, with some farmers turning to self-immolation as a form of protest in recent years.

The southern Chinese village of Wukan, grabbed worldwide attention in 2011 when villagers revolted against over a land grab, forcing local Communist party officials to flee.

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