China: online campiagn in death of peasant leader

A Chinese court ruled Feb. 1 that the death of a village chief run over by a truck Dec. 25 was an accident—sparking outrage from supporters, who insist he was murdered for his protests over land seizures. Qian Yunhui, 53, was crushed by a truck, and gruesome photos of his body were posted on the web in an online campaign to pressure authorities for justice in the case. Qian had demanded compensation for farmers whose lands in Zhaiqiao village, Zhejiang province, were seized to make way for a power plant. The unlicenced driver of the truck received three-and-a-half years in prison for the “accident.”

With China’s official media apparently under orders to de-emphasize such stories, online activists are increasingly waging viral campaigns through portals such as Netease.com. (AFP, China Real Time blog, Feb. 1)

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