Authorities have raided homes and arrested at least 13 people in a remote village in southern China amid protests over the recent jailing of its elected chief, witnesses said Tuesday. 

Villagers on social media reported that hundreds of police had used tear gas and rubber bullets to make the arrests in Wukan, Guangdong province, overnight, five years after an uprising against corruption in the same village drew international attention.

Following the arrests, villagers clashed violently with police, according to videos and comments posted on social media.  

"The police broke into the village and arrested people at 4 am ... villagers set up a barricade this morning, and threw bricks and gas tanks to confront the police," wrote a villager going by the alias Apell on the Chinese microblogging website Weibo. 

"The government said it was an illegal gathering! But it is a legitimate march.  You really can't believe what the government says," wrote another villager named Yao Wei on Weibo. 

The village is now under lockdown, with anyone leaving or entering having to go through police ID checks, the South China Morning Post reported. 

The arrests came after village chief Lin Zuluan, who had led protests against land grabs, was sentenced to over three years in prison last Thursday for taking bribes.

The 13 arrested had allegedly "incited illegal assemblies among the villagers in Wukan to disrupt public order and traffic flows since June 19," the official Xinhua news agency cited local authorities as saying.

"Their behaviour has severely affected local life and production and exerted a bad influence.

"Police have therefore arrested the 13 according to law, in an effort to safeguard the interest of the masses and restore order," the public security bureau of Lufeng City said. 

At the time of Lin's detention in June, he was preparing to make a speech to the village general assembly on unresolved land disputes. 

In 2011, Lin was a leader of protests that led to clashes with police over property development and alleged illegal evictions.

The land dispute started after a livestock company and a property developer announced plans to build on land bought from the local government. Villagers said they still owned the land and were disappointed by the government's failures.

The protests escalated after the death of another protest leader, Xue Jinbo, on December 11, 2011, while in police custody.

Some of the seized land had been returned, but some places remained disputed, the state-run Global Times newspaper reported on Tuesday, citing the mayor of Shanwei in Guangdong, where Wukan is located. 

Land protests have become common across China in recent years as a growing number of rural residents fight alleged corruption and secret land deals by local officials.

Related stories

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.