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Hopes for democracy crushed in the Chinese rebel village of Wukan

By James Pomfret

WUKAN, China (Reuters) – Hopes for democracy in the Chinese village of Wukan, where an uprising against corruption five years ago gained global notice and led to direct village-wide elections, have all but evaporated, with protest leaders either in detention, in exile, facing arrest or quitting their posts.

Villagers have been marching in protest every day since the middle of June in a fresh flare-up of unrest, but the so-called “Wukan model”, with authorities seemingly taking a more tolerant approach toward unrest by kicking out corrupt officials and allowing a free vote, appears to have been a one-off.

Wukan is about a four-hour drive northeast of Hong Kong, where a 79-day “umbrella revolution” in late 2014 demanding Beijing allow full democracy, brought chaos to the streets.

This time the turmoil in Wukan focused on the arrest by local authorities of elected leader…

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