Inside the Pitchfork Rebellion

Across China's heartland, anger at local authorities is growing violent. Is this the birth of a revolution?

The man is almost too scared to talk. "I am just a farmer," he whispers, shortly after the police had descended on his village of Panlong in China's southern Guangdong province. "I know I don't matter." But what he has witnessed does. In mid-January, the man joined a remarkable protest against the local government's decision to seize communal farmland and lease it to a foreign investor. For several days, more than 1,000 villagers gathered near the disputed land, brandishing pitchforks and blocking a highway. But the brief exercise in free expression ended in tragedy. As dusk fell on Jan. 14, men armed...

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