01/14/2010, 00.00
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Guangxi: police fires into a crowd of protesters defending their homes

Residents in a Guanxi village oppose the forced seizure of their land. Police moves in to arrest and remove demonstrators, causing clashes that leave a number of injured among the residents and police. Tens of thousands of such incidents are recorded each year.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Police in Longyatun (Guangxi) shot at protesters, wounding at least five of them in clashes over the forced seizure of their homes and land for public use. Police said that they fired in self-defence when they were surrounded and attacked with clubs and knives, resulting in 11 of them being hospitalised and a car set on fire.

Protesters said that all they did was to refuse to leave their land and that the police moved in and arrested 12 demonstrators, ordering everybody else to leave the area.

Residents claim that the land was not seized for public use but for the purpose of real estate speculation.

Information about the incident remains unclear however. Official sources say no one died, but a posting on the popular Tianya blog said that police used electric batons and tear gas, causing the death of one person, and injuring six others. As many as 50 villagers were taken into custody.

In China, ordinary citizens have almost no recourse against abuses by the authorities, who are not shy about expropriating private property, including private homes, in order to sell them cheap to industrial or residential developers.

In many cases, residents resort to physical force against seizures and forced demolitions because the authorities refuse to hear their complaints. Police are often used in evictions, and this in turn leads to violent clashes.

Last week, one person was killed and many injured in clashes between police and farmers in Jiangus. The latter were protesting their forced eviction and the loss of their farmland.

Official figures indicate that in 2008 alone there were 87,000 incidents of this kind.

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See also
Guangxi: police arrest farmers after throwing them off their land
Shandong: 20 injured in more protests against land seizure
Farmers in revolt near Harbin against land seizures, one dead, many wounded
Hebei authorities reverse land seizure from farmers in Shengyou
Ethnic unrest in Guangxi over water pollution by industrial plant


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