The popular head of a Chinese village who was chosen in a rare open election in 2012 following a standoff with the ruling Communist Party has read a statement on state television saying he accepted kickbacks for government contracts.

Lin Zuluan was arrested Saturday, shortly before he planned to lead protests against land grabs by local developers. His arrest touched off days of demonstrations in Wukan village, where many residents say he is innocent and that the confession, televised Tuesday, was forced.

The village received international attention five years ago when residents held protests and won unusual permission from the Communist Party to hold an open election, which Lin won. Hundreds of riot police have been patrolling the streets since Lin's arrest Saturday.