Chinese media on Thursday criticised local officials in the country's south for letting a protest over land seizures get out of hand and urged authorities around the country to "put the public first".
Residents of Wukan village in Guangdong province lived under police blockade for more than a week after driving out local Communist party leaders they say have been stealing their land for years.
The stand-off ended Wednesday after provincial authorities held talks with the villagers and agreed to investigate their complaints, free three detained residents and release the body of another who died in police custody.
The People's Daily, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist party, said local authorities had erred by failing to "heed the reasonable demands of villagers" which had allowed a "reasonable petition to escalate into excessive actions".
The newspaper's commentary, however, heaped praise on the later efforts of the provincial authorities whose "full acknowledgement that most of the people's demands were reasonable" had helped to resolve the crisis.
An editorial in the Global Times called on local governments around China to "take every quarrel from the people seriously and show a responsible attitude towards people's demands", saying such disputes were likely to increase.
"Putting the public first and helping them fulfil reasonable interests should be the aim of local government officials," the newspaper said.
The decision to send senior provincial leaders to deal with a village dispute signals the level of concern in Guangdong over the rare revolt in Wukan, which made world headlines.
It came as a protest in the town of Haimen, also in Guangdong, turned violent for a second straight day on Wednesday when police fired tear-gas and beat residents protesting against a power plant they say is a health hazard.
Officials overseeing Haimen said in a statement late Tuesday they would suspend the power station project and refer the case to "supervisory authorities".
But protesters were either unaware of the suspension or sceptical about the government's intentions and have continued to take to the streets.
China's Communist party is preparing for a once-in-a-decade transition of power that begins next year, and leaders are eager to keep a lid on social unrest which they admit poses a major threat to their hold on power.
The People's Daily commentary indicates the protest may not jeopardize the expected promotion next year of Guangdong's reformist Communist party secretary, Wang Yang, to the national Standing Committee.
China's security chief has urged authorities to resolve conflicts swiftly and enforce the law in a "civilised" way, after a recent upsurge in social unrest in the country of 1.3 billion people.
Zhou Yongkang, a member of China's powerful Politburo, said authorities should try to resolve disputes "at the grassroots level," as the government seeks to prevent outbreaks of violence.
"(We must) deepen our efforts to mediate conflicts and disputes, improving the system of mediation to resolve conflicts and disputes at the grassroots level and nip them in the bud," said Zhou, in comments reported by the official Xinhua news agency.
"We must also adhere to civilised standards of law enforcement, and deal with mass incidents and individual extremist events according to the law."
Zhou did not explicitly mention the handover, but he said 2012 was a year of "special significance" for the country's development.
"Every political and legal organ must enhance their political awareness... and their sense of responsibility," he said.
"We must take the initiative and effectively prevent and crack down on all separatist and disruptive, violent and terrorist criminal activities."