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    » 06/17/2011, 00.00

    CHINA

    Taizhou protests over land seizures, police surround entire village



    Residents block roads and railway over lack of any compensation. Thousands of police arrive clashing with the population and arresting anyone who filmed the episode on their phones.
    Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The inhabitants of the village of Rishanfen, near Taizhou (Zhejiang), took to the streets in protest and blocked the railroad over their failure to be compensated for their expropriated lands. In response the authorities sent thousands of police who clashed with demonstrators and arrested the village chief.

    The protest broke out over a fight between residents and operators of a gasoline filling station that was built on expropriated land. According to the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy in China, June 14 the village chief demanded station managers pay the villagers compensation for the lands ceded by the government after they were expropriated. The station's employees ended the quarrel by beating the some residents and sending them to hospital. Within hours the people of Rishanfen surrounded the gas station and blocked a highway and railway express service to the local airport.

    The local government's response was to send hundreds, perhaps thousands of police, who clashed with the residents to clear the streets. They also arrested a dozen people, including the village chief and several others who were filming the incident with their cell phones. On June 15 a more substantial police force arrived because the protest was not over. The police guarded the streets and surrounded the village, checking everyone who wanted to enter or exit.

    Local sources suspect that the compensation for expropriated lands was pocketed by the former village chief of Rishanfen, who is now secretary of the local Communist Party, a position of great importance. The authorities deny everything: Xu Guanbao, secretary of the Rishanfen Communist Party, speaking to Radio Free Asia denied any "incident", and moreover refused to give any further explanation.

    It is at least the third major protest to emerge this week in China. In Lichuan (Hubei), the crowd took to the streets to protest the suspicious death of a local leader who defended the interests of the population, while he was detained by police. In Xintang (pictured), in the industrial Guangdong, a trivial dispute sparked days of street fighting between police and thousands of immigrants, frustrated by their poor social situation.

    Experts explain that there were over 180 thousand mass protests in China in 2010, mainly for economic reasons such as widespread corruption, expropriation of land and the escalating food prices. The population, has no "legal" way to defend their rights, including economic, and are increasingly ready to take to the streets to demand justice and social security. Many analysts believe that this will force the authorities to democratic reforms, but in February repression and police control were stepped up, for fear that the protests could spark a Jasmine Revolution.
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    See also

    01/10/2011 CHINA
    1 October, Premier Wen calls for 'more democracy' for China
    On the occasion of celebrations marking the 62nd anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, Prime Minister promises more rights for the people and a democracy "with Chinese characteristics." But the government continues to repress human rights and prevent popular participation.

    23/09/2011 CHINA
    Guangdong, more social protests against the requisition of land
    Thousands of people took to the streets in Lufeng to protest against the theft of land. Having raided the headquarters of the Party and the station police, they stayed on the streets resisting police charges.

    23/07/2009 CHINA
    Daily fight over land in China
    Local authorities are seizing land from thousands of farmers, depriving them of their homes and fields for paltry compensation. They claim it is to favour the economic development of the country, but residents complain that officials pocket compensation money, and that once they have lost their land they have lost their livelihood.

    16/01/2012 CHINA
    Wukan celebrates: protest leader appointed Communist secretary
    Guangdong villagers succeed in having local leaders, elected by fraud, deposed and an investigation into the theft of their land. Now the leader of the protesters is head of the local section.

    12/12/2011 CHINA
    Protester dies in jail. Riots over confiscated land on the rise
    He was arrested three days ago. Officially, he died from "cardiac arrest". Falun Gong members, bishops and priests die in prison for torture. "Mass incidents" that see clashes between police and demonstrators grew to 180 thousand in 2010.



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