The leader of Wukan village has been formally arrested for taking bribes, more than a month after his detention sparked waves of protest in the village.

Former Party Branch Secretary and village head Lin Zuluan was arrested on suspicion of taking bribes, according to a statement on the Shanwei government’s site. “The case is under further investigation,” it said. Shanwei is the administrative centre for the region.

Lin Zuluan, talks to journalists after being elected as village chief in Wukan village, Guangdong province March 31, 2014. Photo: Reuters/Alex Lee

Lin was one of the last remaining leaders of months-long protests in 2011 over illegal land grabs in the Guangdong fishing village. He eventually turned from protest leader to elected official in the village. But Lin was taken from his home early on the morning of June 18, prompting villagers to hold daily demonstrations calling for his release. Lin had been planning a meeting of villagers and a petition at government buildings before his arrest.

The Chinese Weiquanwang blog reported that Monday was the 28th consecutive day of protests in Wukan. Each afternoon around 5pm, villagers march through the village shouting “Give back our farmland! Give back our Secretary Lin! Long live the Communist Party!” according to the blog.

Protest sign saying “Wukan villagers’ 28th day of protest.” Photo: Weiquanwang.

On June 24, officials in Shanwei announced that they confirmed information from an anonymous online post that Lin Zuluan took kickbacks from the construction of a school running track. They also broadcast a video earlier that week in which Lin “confessed” to receiving kickbacks.

See also: Chinese authorities broadcast ‘confession’ by chief of Wukan ‘rebel town’

Lin was denied access to legal counsel chosen by his family. His family wrote a statement refusing to recognise two lawyers reportedly appointed by the authorities to represent him.

Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao reported that Lin’s sons were permitted to see him on Tuesday. Afterwards, they posted on WeChat that Lin Zuluan was well and in good spirits, the paper said.

Catherine Lai

Catherine is a Canadian journalist and photographer who lived in Beijing for almost two years, working in TV and online media. Aside from Hong Kong and mainland affairs, she is also interested in urban spaces, art and feminism. She holds a BA in Literature and Art History from the University of British Columbia.