Former Wukan chief Lin Zuluan’s appeal at a Guangdong court over his bribery convictions has been rejected on Thursday. Lin was found guilty of taking bribes and accepting bribes as a non-state employee in September, but was acquitted of bid-rigging in a trial in early September. He was sentenced to a RMB200,000 (HK$230,000) fine and 37 months in jail.

The appeal was a closed hearing, but three of Lin’s family members were allowed to attend the trial.

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

On October 12, Lin withdrew his confession, denying that he took bribes at an appeal hearing. The Foshan Chancheng People’s Procuratorate also lodged an appeal, saying that the sentencing was too light. The Foshan Intermediate People’s Court, however, upheld the original sentence.

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.

Protesting villagers.

However, he was taken from his home early in the morning of June 18, prompting villagers to hold daily demonstrations calling for his release. Lin was planning a meeting of villagers and a petition at government buildings before his arrest.

After his sentencing in September, Wukan villagers went on strike to voice their support for Lin. Violent clashes between police and villagers then occurred, and five Hong Kong journalists were detained after trying to report in the village.

Chantal Yuen

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.