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China rebel village takes halting democratic step

Bobby Yip / Reuters

A villager, 2nd right, checks with an election worker beside a ballot box at a school turned into a polling station in Wukan village in Lufeng, Guangdong province, China, on Feb. 1, 2012.

Reuters reports from WUKAN, China

Residents of a restive village in southern China held a symbolic election on Wednesday in what is being seen as a small step towards grassroots rights.

The rebellion last year against abuse of power and the illegal sale of hundreds of hectares of farmland in coastal Wukan have become a benchmark of rural defiance against land grabs and corruption that blight villages nation-wide.

Bobby Yip / Reuters

An election worker, left, looks out from inside a classroom guarded by police officers during vote counting at a school turned into a polling station in Wukan on Feb. 1, 2012.

More than 6,000 villagers streamed into a school amid brilliant sunshine, with turnout well over 80 percent.

"This far exceeded our expectations," said Yang Semao, a village elder who helped officiate. "It shows our passion for democracy." Read the full story.

Bobby Yip / Reuters

Villagers voting in Wukan on Feb. 1, 2012.

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