A former protest leader in the Guangdong village of Wukan has staged protests outside the United Nations Headquarters and the Chinese consulate in New York.

Zhuang Liehong held demonstrations on Monday during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to New York to attend the the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly. Zhuang demanded that Beijing release the detained Wukan villagers.

Zhuang said that communications in Wukan are being heavily censored, making it difficult for the villagers to send images and videos to the outside world.

Zhuang Liehong protested outside the UN Headquarters in New York. Photo: Facebook/Zhuang Liehong.

He added that security forces are stationed throughout the village. Mainland media reports that there is peace in the village are false, he said.

Zhuang fled to the United States in 2014 after leading protests in the village against land grabs and corruption. His parents remain in Wukan.

Zhuang said that he could not contact his mother because authorities had confiscated her cell phone two days ago. He has not heard from his father either, who was taken away before the crackdown on protests, according to Zhuang.

“I have no idea how badly beaten up he is,” Zhuang said.

Zhuang Liehong staged protests in New York. Photo: Zhuang Liehong, via Facebook.

See also: Video: Clampdown on reporting from Wukan ‘rebel village’ as protesters are detained

The latest round of protests in Wukan began following the arrest of Lin Zuluan, who also lead protests in 2011 and later became an elected official in the village. Lin had been planning a meeting of villagers and a petition at government buildings before his arrest.

Correction 21/09: Zhuang fled to the United States in 2014, not 2011, as previously stated in this article.

Ellie Ng

Ellie Ng has written for Foreign Policy, the Daily Telegraph, Global Voices Online and others.