Shengyou (AsiaNews/Agencies) Hebei provincial authorities have announced their intention to stop seizing land from farmers in Shengyou, a village that was the scene of violent clashes between local residents and hired gangs that caused the death of six farmers.
In an official statement, the authorities acknowledged that "[because] Shengyou village, the originally proposed site of the power plant's ash storage yard, has a big population but relatively little land, the Hebei provincial government . . . has now made a decision not to requisition land from that village".
Since 2003 the village had refused the offer made by power company Hebei Guohua to buy their land in order to build a power plant on 26 hectares within the village's boundaries.
Villagers have accused local authorities of pocketing money to force them out.
The issue came to a boil on June 11 when hundreds of men wearing camouflage gear and construction helmets and wielding hunting rifles and clubs attacked Shengyou.
Police was called in but responded only six hours later when the assailants had long gone. In the meantime, six people were dead and more than hundred wounded.
According to the Ping Guo Ribao (Apple Daily), a Hong Kong-based paper, and other overseas Chinese papers, the raid by hired gangs against Shengyou farmers is really the work of Li Xiaopeng, son of former Chinese Prime Minister Li Peng, who is considered the main culprit for the 1989 Tiananmen massacre.
The decision to reverse land seizures is seen as a move against Li Peng's family.