The ongoing dispute between villagers in Wukan, Guangdong Province and the government of China has escalated. Villagers have evicted all Communist Party officials, all soldiers and all police. The government forces have blockaded the village, effectively laying siege to the rebels, cutting off their food and water. The dispute began as a conflict over land confiscation, but has grown to encompass other grievances, including the suspicious deaths of activists in police custody in which torture is alleged.
Guangdong province is the engine of China's new economy, home to the factory cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen. The fast growth and the global economic crisis have whipsawed the region, sending literally millions of workers back to the countryside as factories closed overnight, even as new millionaires were minted by boomlets and stock-market bubbles. The frontier attitude of the region has given rise to legendary local corruption as well.