Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong have sent nine residents of a rebel village to prison to begin serving sentences ranging from two to 10 years for their involvement in resistance to an armed police raid, without giving them a chance to appeal.
The nine from the village of Wukan were sentenced by the Haifeng County People’s Court on Dec. 26 for their part in resisting a raid that put an end to months of daily mass protests following the loss of village land and the jailing of its former leader Lin Zuluan, Radio Free Asia reported.
They were found guilty of charges that included “unlawful assembly,” “disrupting public order,” “disrupting traffic,” “obstructing official business,” and “intentionally spreading false information.”
Hundreds of armed police in full riot gear raided the village on Sept. 13 and broke up the demonstrations, firing rubber bullets and tear gas into the crowd, which barricaded the streets and fought back with bricks.
“Officials have blocked communication channels from and into the village, and retaliated against those who have shared information about the police activity,” said the Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) network, a coalition of Chinese and international human rights nongovernmental organizations, in a statement on its website.
U.S.-based Zhuang Liehong, whose father Zhuang Songkun received a three-year jail term, said the nine have now been sent to prison from where they were being held in police-run detention centers, without the chance to appeal.