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Chinese Media Name Dead Protesters

Chinese state media on Sunday published the names of three villagers who were killed by police during a protest over the seizure of land for a power plant.

Rights groups and activists had been calling for the government to publish a list of those killed in the Dec. 6 shootings in Dongzhou, a village northeast of Hong Kong in Guangdong province. The government says three people were killed, while residents put the toll at up to 20.

The Guangzhou Daily Newspaper said that the three men killed by police were 26-year-old Lin Yidui, 35-year-old Jiang Guangge and 31-year-old Wei Jin. Eight people were injured, the paper said, but did not give their names.

The paper said the information was based on an interview Saturday with a spokesman for the local Shanwei city government. His name was not given.

Last Saturday, China made its first official comment on the clash between authorities and demonstrators in a southern Chinese village in which an unknown number of people were killed, saying hundreds of armed villagers "incited by a few instigators" had assaulted police.

Villagers say the protest erupted over complaints that residents received little or no compensation for land taken by the government for construction of a power plant.

The paper said that social order had been restored in the village and that construction on the power plant had resumed, according to the official.

The violence was the deadliest clash yet in a series of confrontations throughout China between police and villagers who are angry over land seizures for construction of factories, shopping malls and other projects.

Chinese leaders have shown unusual concern about Dongzhou, detaining the commander whose forces opened fire and promising to deal with local grievances.

The Guangzhou Daily said that the commander "was forced to fire warning shots" in an effort to subdue the crowd and that the darkness and chaos were to blame for the killings.

The paper said the Shanwei spokesman blamed three villagers for organizing the protests and identified them as Huang Xijun, Huang Xirang and Lin Hanru. The three men were detained by police on Dec. 11, it said.

The men used illegal radio broadcasts to organize attacks on guards at the power plant and blocked the road to the plant for 84 days, according to the paper.

Huang Xijun ran for director of the village party committee in June this year, the paper said. He used firecrackers to explode the ballot box, the paper said, allegedly because he did not get enough votes to win the election.

The violence drew renewed attention to rising tensions in rural China over land seizures for projects such as factories, power plants and shopping malls.

Farmers often say they're paid too little. Some accuse officials of stealing compensation money.

Incidents like the one in Dongzhou have alarmed communist leaders, who are promising to spend more to raise living standards in the poor countryside, home to about 800 million people.

By the government's count, China had more than 70,000 cases of rural unrest last year. Protests are growing more violent, with injuries on both sides.

President Hu Jintao's government has made a priority of easing rural poverty and trying to spread prosperity to areas left behind by China's 25-year economic boom. But in many areas, families still live on the equivalent of a few hundred dollars a year.

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