A man wanted by police for disrupting public order in connection with protests in Guangdong’s Wukan village has turned himself in, according to a police Weibo account.

Yang Shaoji was the last of five fugitives police said they were seeking last week. He turned himself in on Sunday night, the Lufeng police announced on Monday.

“Forced by the police pursuit and public pressure, Yang Shaoji, who is suspected of assembling a crowd to disrupt public order and traffic order, has surrendered himself to the Lufeng police,” the post said. Lufeng is Wukan’s administrative region.

Yang Shaoji.

A clash between villagers and police broke out last Tuesday after months of protests over the village’s jailed leader and the ongoing issue of land grabs. After police broke down doors to arrest 13 early Tuesday morning, a standoff occurred in which police fired rubber bullets and tear gas, and villagers threw bricks and used propane cylinders at police. Former village chief Lin Zuluan was sentenced to three years in jail for taking bribes on September 8.

Local media reports that Yang is related to Yang Zhen, the wife of Lin Zuluan.

Another four suspects wanted by police turned themselves in on Wednesday and Thursday, according to a post on a Lufeng county forum.

Wukan protesters
Protesters in Wukan. File

Wukan became known as China’s “democracy village” in international media after Lin and other leaders were elected following protests in 2011 over land grabs. Lin was detained by police in June.

Conflicting accounts

Chinese authorities have disputed reports that five journalists from Hong Kong reporting in Wukan were hit by police before they were detained. The Lufeng Public Security Bureau told China News Service that the police enforced the law in a rational, mild and civilised manner, and that reports from Hong Kong media that police had taken rough actions like “slapping, punching and throwing reporters on the ground” were untrue.

apple daily wukan
Apple Daily report: “Slapping, punching and throwing on the ground.” Photo: Facebook/Apple Daily.

Ming Pao’s reporter previously said that police broke into a villager’s home – where three of the journalists were hiding – and ordered them to crouch. A reporter from the South China Morning Post was pinned to the floor, while the two Ming Pao reporters were hit once by police even though they were crouching.

According to the Bureau’s account, a villager notified police after seeing three unknown men enter a villager’s house at 9:10pm last Wednesday. After police arrived at the scene, “pushing and physical contact occurred,” and the three reporters were brought to the police station. Two reporters from HK01 were also brought to the police station that night.

hong kong wukan
A demonstration in Hong Kong in support of Wukan villagers on Saturday. Photo: Facebook/Alan Leong.

Four of the reporters were not carrying valid permits for reporting and interviewing on the mainland, according to the Bureau. The SCMP reporter had a permit, but had not followed the proper procedures, said the authorities.

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.