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The Associated Press
In this photo taken on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011, villagers hold placards chanting slogans as they march around their village during a protest in Wukan village, in China's Guangdong province. A man from a southern Chinese fishing village whose death in police custody helped spark a rare revolt was given a hero's farewell Friday as thousands of tearful residents mourned what they called his sacrifice for them. (AP Photo)

BEIJING — Thousands of residents of a southern Chinese village staging a rare revolt are rallying to call for the return of the body of a local representative whose death in police custody helped sparked the rebellion.

Villager Qin Zhuan said thousands gathered at a square outside a local temple Saturday to shout slogans calling for the return of farmland they say has been sold to developers without their consent.

She says the villagers would also hold a march in the village to demand that police return the body of Xue Jinbo, a village representative who died in police custody last Sunday.

Police have set up checkpoints around Wukan, a village of 20,000. Villagers are keeping police out with barricades and regular patrols.