10/24/2011, 00.00
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Hunan: 21 people sentenced to forced labour for complaining against expropriations

Sentences range from 12 to 18 months for disrupting the social order. People had demonstrated in Tiananmen Square, demanding justice after losing homes and land. In 30 years, some 50 million farmers have been expropriated. Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao are powerless to do anything about it.
Beijing (AsiaNews/CHRD) – Authorities in Hunan have moved against 14 women and 11 men for demanding justice after they lost their homes to forced seizure and demolition. The Re-education Through Labour (RTL) Committee in Changsha sentenced 21 of them to 12 to 18 months of forced labour. An additional four were placed under arrest.

The group had come to Beijing in August to submit a petition to the government. They stage d a protest in Tiananmen Square, shouting slogans and carrying banners.

Police quickly arrested them, charging them with “gathering a crowd to disrupt the social order”. Some of the petitioners had been trying to obtain justice for 12 years.

Unfettered economic development has unleashed a rush for land to build plants or residential compounds. In many cases, long-term residents and farmers have been pushed out of their homes and off their land with compensation far below the land’s market value.

In the past 30 years, some 50 million farmers have lost their home and land this way, swelling the army of migrant workers seeking their fortune in the cities.

Land seizure has become of the major causes of social unrest in the country.

President Hu Jintao said in August that developers should stop using arable land for building new projects. For his part, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in September criticised the role local officials are playing in land grabs.
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Xi wants public complaints to be heard, but strengthens the police state
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Land seizures increase at farmers' expense


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