16 January 2013
(c) 2013 Kyodo News
HONG KONG, Jan. 16 -- Hundreds of protesting villagers clashed with police Tuesday outside a steel rolling factory operated by the Singapore-based Huajin Group in southern China's Guangdong Province, amid allegations of local government corruption involving a land compensation fund, human rights advocacy groups said Wednesday.
The Hong Kong-base Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said the clash outside the factory in Mozhou, a town in Xinhui District of Jiangmen City, left 20 protesters and 10 policemen injured, of which two villagers and one officer were hospitalized in serious condition.
The Molihua website, which frequently reports on mass demonstrations in China, said three villagers and two police officers were seriously wounded.
But Lei Weidong, a spokesman for the Xinhui District government, told Kyodo News by telephone that "no one was seriously wounded."
He said the district's Communist Party secretary has reached a deal with the villagers, who agreed to go home at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Molihua said protesters from Nanan village in Mozhou had on Monday blocked roads leading to the factory, claiming a compensation fund of more than 70 million yuan (about $11.2 million) offered in exchange for the land where the factory was built had gone missing.
They accused corrupt Mozhou officials of pocketing the money and said higher level governments had ignored their allegations of corruption by the town government.
The standoff continued into Tuesday, when more than 100 riot police officers were sent to clear them out by force, the website said.
Lei said the amount of land compensation in question was about 13.5 million yuan.