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Wukan village deputy head bailed out for upcoming election

English.news.cn   2014-03-16 22:00:39

GUANGZHOU, March 16 (Xinhua) -- The deputy chief of Wukan Village in south China, who was detained for alleged bribery on Thursday, has been bailed out to prepare for the upcoming election of the village's new leadership.

Yang Semao, deputy chief of the village committee, was taken away by investigation authorities Thursday afternoon on suspicion of taking bribes in public projects in the village.

The information office of Lufeng City, which administers the village, confirmed with Xinhua on Sunday that the village committee and its election committee bailed Yang out on Friday night. The information office described the process as "legal."

According to the Lufeng city government, the village launched an election on Tuesday, and new leadership consisting of 11 members will be formed earlier next month.

"Yang is a member of the election committee and he will be responsible for helping organize the election," said an official with the government familiar with the situation, but who declined to be named.

Yang admitted via his authorized account on Sina Weibo, China's equivalent to Twitter, that he took bribes of 20,000 yuan (3,263 U.S. dollars), but donated them to a local school.

"It's reasonable, but illegal," Yang said of his actions.

Wukan grabbed international headlines in 2011 when the small village's residents staged three rounds of large-scale rallies over four months to protest village officials' alleged illegal land grabs, corruption and violations of financing and election rules.

Order was restored in December of the same year after a senior provincial official held direct talks with villagers.

Yang was elected in re-elections held in 2012. Later in April, several former officials from the village were expelled from the Communist Party of China over corruption and election-rigging charges.

Over the past two years, more than 5,000 mu (333 hectares) of land determined to have been illegally transferred, allotted, or left idle has been returned to the village.

Governments at the provincial and city levels also earmarked tens of millions in yuan for improving villagers' livelihood.

(To stay up to date with the latest China news, follow XHNews on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/XHNews and Xinhua News Agency on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/XinhuaNewsAgency.)

Editor: Zhu Ningzhu
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