Three farmers with only primary school educations were arrested for establishing “New Dengzhou People’s Government,” a makeshift-governing agency located in Henan province on April 21.
Nicknamed the “Zhang Trio,” Zhang Xin, Maxiang Lan and Wang (no first name available) established “New Dengzhou People’s Government” in September 2013, after the old “Dengzhou People’s Government” withdrew from legitimacy that same month, according to news.dahe.cn.
The government printed their own seal, formed nine ministries and commissions, issued legal documents and recruited civil servants—more than 10 college graduates applied to the position.
All economic organizations—primarily farms in Dengzhou—were collective under “New Dengzhou.” More than 200 households applied for “rural land contract and management right” certificates from the Zhang Trio.
The three farmers ruled over three towns. It is suspected Zhang Xin acted as mayor, and that there were up to 10 ruling members of “New Dengzhou.”
Authorities learned of the illegal government in early April. A drain project was set to develop on “New Dengzhou” land, and developers received “illegal housing penalty” notices and “People’s Government Dengzhou suspension” warnings from the Zhang Trio about the project. Property developers found the letters strange, and alerted the local Public Security Bureau.
In less than a month, the three farmers were arrested. After nearly 8-months of undisputed rule, they were prosecuted for “forgery of official documents” by the official Dengzhou People’s Procurator.