A man in his fifties burned to death after his home was set on fire as part of a government-backed forced eviction project in Caozhuang Village, Jianggan District in Southeast China’s Hangzhou City.
The fire was set at about 3:00 am in the morning of October 23. The daughter of the deceased Mr Fu Yankong told an Epoch Times reporter, “There was a fire upstairs this morning. The tenant lives downstairs. My father lived on the 2nd floor, and I’m on the 3rd floor. I noticed a fire this morning. Then I heard the sound of an explosion. My mother shouted that there was a fire. I hurried up to the 3rd floor to carry my son down. My father called the police. It was a mess and I didn’t pay attention to my father. I don’t know what happened later. Then my father was burnt to death. In any way, this is caused by the forced eviction.”
In the morning of October 23, about two to three thousand villagers went to the deceased’s home to pay respect to the deceased.
Some of them also hung wreaths outside of the Caozhuang Village Committee to protest.
The local authorities cordoned off the home for three hours, and also blocked any news from reaching the public. Reporters and villagers were not allowed in. Villagers were driven away by the police.
According to sources, in order to force villagers to give in, the forced eviction task force coerced a female tenant to negotiate with her landlord for compensation. But the negotiation went bad and the tenant set the house on fire.
The villagers suspected that the forced eviction task force was behind this.
One female suspect was said to have been detained.
According to villagers, the authorities forcefully evicted Caozhuang Village residents in order to make way for a road to the airport. The road construction has been completed. However, the authorities are still demolishing residents’ houses, and have been using questionable means to forcefully evict landlords and tenants by fomenting discord between the two parties.
The forced eviction project was met with strong resistance from the villagers because the authorities have been forcefully removing them from their homes without going through any legal procedures. The villagers have continued to visit the local Petitions and Appeals office to protect their legal rights.
The deceased’s neighbor Ms. Liang said, “Over three hundred homes in Caozhuang Village will be demolished. We are all reluctant to move. We will lost our income with our homes being demolished. So we asked the government for legal approach, but the government could not come up with any. Now what they (government) threaten us has come true. It was so cruel and so tragic. The way the government handled it was immoral. It’s a human life. Is a civilian’s life so worthless?”
According to villagers, the local government collaborated with land developers in a housing development project, and their farmland lands were bought off by the local government 8 years ago in the name of city development. The landless villagers therefore built extra stories on top of their houses and offered them for rent. Now the villagers won’t be able to survive with their rental properties and homes being forcefully demolished.