04/13/2011, 00.00
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Guangxi: police arrest farmers after throwing them off their land

Farmers in Beigang District have rejected compensation offers made by the government, deemed too low. They also tried to stop bulldozers from entering their land. However, police were sent in to clear off the “offenders”. Going door to door, they proceeded to arrest people. One farmer laments that without land they cannot live.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Farmers in Beigang District, in Guigang, have refused to surrender their land for what they consider low compensation. In order to deny bulldozers access to their property, they blocked surrounding roads. Police moved in on Sunday, expelling the farmers from their land after clashes that ended with people wounded and various arrests.

Local authorities ordered the expropriation of some 400 mu (66 acres) of farmland, offering farmers 42,000 yuan per mu. However, farmers rejected the offer as inadequate. The government then sent in bulldozers in early April to take over the land and start work. Farmers responded by blocking access roads and patrolling the land night and day.

On Sunday, police moved in. They removed protest banners and beat up farmers, who in turn blockaded the road to Simin village.

In the afternoon, members of the People’s Armed Police, a paramilitary force specialising in civilian policing, charged residents, dispersing them. Some people were wounded and one farmer, Yan Feiming, had to be hospitalised with serious injuries.

Police took into custody at least eight residents, whilst many more are wanted, afraid to go home.

A resident taped the peaceful roadblock and posted it on Youtube.

The daughter of arrested villager Bu Shuiyuan said that police did not provide any documentation when they took her father. “Following the clashes, police have been searching for village participants from door to door,” she said. “They even detained people who were not there. In our family, six people were arrested.”

Police later continued their search in other villages.

“I think we are helpless. Some villagers once petitioned the city government over the land, but they never received an answer," she added.

One farmer told RadioFreeAsia that residents no longer have any means to support themselves. “The disputed land is gone and now we don’t even a way to grow vegetables. How can we survive?” he asked.

Whilst Beijing frowns upon seizures of farmland, they are widespread in rural areas. Local leaders take the land, pay insignificant compensation and then resell it to developers or industrialists, pocketing huge profits.

Until a few years, about 87,000 mass incidents due to economic disputes were recorded per year, many of them caused by forced expropriation of land.

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See also
Daily fight over land in China
In Sichuan farmers still protesting against dam construction
Guizhou: government steals the land; residents take to the street, clash with police
Kalpitiya: Muslim woman defeats mega tourism project over land expropriation
Fines not enough, China resorts to public shaming to enforce one-child policy


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