Thousands of Wukan’s residents, incensed at the death of one of their leaders in police custody, gathered for a second day in front of a triple-roofed pagoda that serves as the village hall.
For five hours they sat on long benches, chanting, punching the air in unison and working themselves into a fury.
At the end of the day, a fifteen minute period of mourning for their fallen villager saw the crowd convulsed in sobs and wailing for revenge against the local government.
“Return the body! Return our brother! Return our farmland! Wukan has been wronged! Blood debt must be paid! Where is justice?” the crowd screamed out.
Wukan’s troubles began in September, when the villagers’ collective patience snapped at an attempt to take away their land and sell it to property developers.
Land was the communist promise. That was how they bought the support of the peasants: with the illusion of control over their own land. Like all communist promises, this was a lie, but it was a lie that the peasants were prepared to accept so long as they had only the insolence of office and the law’s delay to deal with. But now the landlords are returning.
Although China suffers an estimated 180,000 “mass incidents” a year, it is unheard of for the Party to sound a retreat.
UPDATE: Other McCain says (or posts a reader saying) the story needs to go viral. He is right.
AND FURTHERMORE: Ladd Ehlinger makes the distinction between Rebellion Theater and actual rebellion:
For those in league with the Occupy Movement and the Arab Spring, a question for you. Why aren’t you helping these poor people out in Wukan? Anonymous and Lulzec: occupying Wall Street isn’t quite the same as occupying Tienanmen Square, is it? If any of you cared about freedom and liberty, you’d be all over China like smell on dead fish.
Instead, you try to shut down the ports of Portland, Oregon (economically hurting countless American workers and yes, even union members), when you’re not busy putting 91 people out of work at the Milk Street Cafe.
It reminds me of Machiavelli. Taking over Wall Street, like rebelling against the King of France, is easy to do, and therefore hardly worth the effort. Taking over Tienanmen Square, like rebelling against the Ottoman Sultan, is harder.