Zhang Jianxing (张建兴), a self-identified “rights defender” from the village of Wukan in China’s southern Guangdong province, reports on his Sina Weibo account today that Zhuang Liehong (庄烈宏), a prominent member of the village’s democratically elected leadership, has publicly announced his resignation.
An outspoken youth leader during protests in Wukan last year over corruption and land grabs by local officials, Zhuang Liehong was detained on December 3, 2011, and held for 20 days. The standoff between villagers and local authorities worsened through December, until provincial officials finally intervened to broker a compromise resulting in free and transparent elections in March this year.
Zhuang Liehong was among those elected to the newly constituted village committee. Ahead of the elections he vowed to fight to get back village land that had been taken. As the Saturday Age reported:
“I will retrieve the land that rightfully belongs to Wukan villagers!” said Zhuang Liehong, 28, in a speech punctuated with fist-pumps that whipped the crowd into a frenzy.
According to today’s Weibo post by Zhang Jianxing, Zhuang submitted his resignation to the village committee on October 21 because he felt he was “unable to handle the wishes of the villagers from within the village committee.” Zhang added:
“Lately, the upheaval in Wukan is quite serious. Lin Zuluan (林祖銮) [the leader of the revolt, now the elected Party chief] avoids going to work. . . Is change happening all over again in Wukan?
The following is a copy of Zhuang Liehong’s letter of resignation, posted to Weibo by Zhang Jianxing.