Law & Crime Politics & Protest SinoBeat

Grandson of arrested leader in Wukan ‘rebel’ village survives suicide attempt

The grandson of the Wukan ‘democracy’ village’s former leader attempted suicide on Friday morning, according to HK newspaper Ming Pao. The 21-year-old is in stable condition after being treated at the hospital.

Formerly the party branch secretary and village head of Wukan, Lin Zuluan was taken away by police in June and accused of corruption. His detention prompted villagers to hold daily demonstrations calling for his release. Ming Pao reported that his grandson was told by authorities not to participate in demonstrations during that period.

Lin Liyi, Lin Zuluan’s grandson, originally lived in Wukan village in Guangdong province, but he and his family later moved to Dongguan city, where they were subjected to 24-hour police surveillance, reported Ming Pao.

Lin Zhuluan Lin Liyi

(left) Lin Zhuluan and (right) Lin Liyi. Photo: molihua.org

According to WeChat messages obtained by Ming Pao, Lin Liyi initially expressed suicidal intentions on Friday at 12:33am when he posted the message “I do not know how long I can keep this going.”

The 21-year-old later posted messages saying “give me courage” and “goodbye” at 12:46am and 1:45am, respectively.

According to sources cited by Ming Pao, Lin’s friends and families barged into his room and transferred him to the hospital shortly after discovering his suicide attempt. Lin returned home around 4am after being treated at the hospital.

Lin’s friends told Ming Pao that the authorities were putting him under great pressure, which may have led to his suicide attempt.

Villager Wei Yonghan makes a speech before assembled Wukan villagers in Wukan, in China's Guangdong province

Villager Wei Yonghan makes a speech before assembled Wukan villagers, who are demanding justice for a series of land grabs and for the release of their elected village chief Lin Zuluan, who was arrested by authorities, in the southern province of Guangdong, China June 20, 2016. Photo: Reuters/James Pomfret

The former village head was officially arrested on suspicion of taking bribes two weeks ago.

Lin Zuluan was one of the last remaining leaders of months-long protests in 2011 over illegal land grabs in the Guangdong fishing village. He was elected as the leader of the village after the protests. Before his arrest in June, Lin had been planning to gather villagers and petition at government buildings before his arrest.

On June 24, officials in Shanwei announced that they confirmed information from an anonymous online post that Lin Zuluan took kickbacks from the construction of a school running track. They also broadcast a video earlier that week in which Lin “confessed” to receiving kickbacks.

If you are experiencing negative feelings, please call: The Samaritans 2896 0000 (24-hour, multilingual), Suicide Prevention Centre 2382 0000 or the Social Welfare Department 2343 2255. The Hong Kong Society of Counseling and Psychology provides a WhatsApp hotline in English and Chinese: 6218 1084.

Grandson of arrested leader in Wukan 'rebel' village survives suicide attempt