They controlled the town in 2011. Local officials in the city of Wukan angered the townspeople by selling off their land to real estate agents. Having lost their land, and not been given any say the people started a rebellion against the Communist party and officials.
It was not long before the Communist party members and policemen had fled the scene and the 20,000 townspeople had control of the village. Officials tried to stop the rebellion by offering to let 13 townspeople be mediators to try and arrange an agreement between the officials and the townspeople.
This attempt at a slight compromise was mostly unsuccessful, and police ended up arrested five of the mediators. They made an attempt to reclaim the city, but failed. One of the arrested mediators was Xue Jinbo, who was 43. Officially, Xue Jinbo died of cardiac arrest, but few in the town believe that was actually the case.
They suspect, perhaps with good reason, that Xue Jinbo’s death was the fault of the police. The police refused to return the body to the family. In an attempt to win back the city, police set up a blockade around Wukan preventing any food from getting in.