12/28/2011, 00.00
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Wen Jiabao against seizures, Ni Yulan goes to trial

by Wang Zhicheng
China’s premier defends farmers’ right to a fair compensation for seized land. However, Ni Yulan, who defended Beijing residents against pre-Olympic land grabs, could be jailed for “creating a disturbance”. After spending time in prison where she was beaten, she is now disabled and homeless following the demolition of her home.
Beijing (AsiaNews) – Wen Jiabao has criticised the policy of land grabs, calling for greater justice for people whose property is seized. Meanwhile, Ni Yulan (pictured), a lawyer who has defended families victimised by unfettered land grabs, goes on trial. She is in a wheelchair after suffering a beating in prison.

Speaking at an annual national work conference on rural affairs yesterday, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao called on officials to better protect the rights of farmers and ensure they receive a bigger share of profits from the conversion of their land to industrial and residential use.

“We can no longer sacrifice farmers’ land ownership rights to reduce urbanisation and industrialisation costs,” Wen said. “It’s both necessary and possible for us to significantly increase farmers’ gains from the increase in land value.”

Wen’s comments come as social unrest over land seizures grows. A few days, demonstrations and clashes ended in Wukan (Guangdong). Protests had been caused by local officials who had seized land without proper compensation.

According to Chinese scholars, strikes, demonstrations and other protests in China topped 180,000 in 2010, caused mostly by land grabs.

Wen’s words may fall on deaf ears however, at least in the case of Yi Nulan, a lawyer who has fought for years against evictions in Beijing in the period preceding the 2008 Olympics.

Because of her work, Ni was jailed several times; she was also beaten. As a result, she is disabled and forced on a wheelchair. After her home was bulldozed, she was forced to live in a tent in a public park, helped by friends and supporters. She was also disbarred.

Tomorrow, she and her husband, Dong Jiqin, go on trial at the Xicheng District People’s Court in the capital. Arrested in April, they are accused of “creating a disturbance” and face fraud charges.
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See also
Illegal land-grabs up
Wen Jiabao meets petitioners, urges authorities to respect them
China solves protests through violence and arrests
China may soon not be able to feed itself, warns Wen Jiabao
Law against "forced demolitions" in the pipeline


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