CHINA—At noon on March 11, another large- scale conflict broke out in Shanwei, Guangdong Province. Villagers fought with hired thugs over a land dispute involving a power plant construction site. About 70 villagers were shot to death in the Shanwei Massacre on December 6, 2005, in strife over this same power plant.
Just over a year after the Shanwei Massacre, Shanwei Power Plant has just started operating, and the company has been rushing the final stages of its construction. However, the local Shanwei authorities have not finished negotiations with the villagers about compensation for the land seized for the plant. Therefore the construction of the power plant has been strongly opposed by villagers in Dongzhou. The power plant company resorted to hiring thugs to keep the construction work going and as a result, villagers are often beaten up.
According to Mr. Li, from Shigu village, on March 11 about a dozen workers, an excavator, a truck and a tractor came to Shigu Village to carry out construction work. The villagers told the workers, “Please go back. Since the land problem has not been resolved, please do not start building here.” The workers then withdrew. However, they soon returned to Shigu Village with hundreds of hired thugs, aged from about 19 to 30 years old, with a truck full of sticks and stones.
Li said, “After they arrived, they beat whoever they saw. Three villagers were seriously injured. One villager's hand was broken. Some villagers called a car to send the injured villager to the hospital but the gangsters did not allow them to go. They even beat up the driver. The villagers reported the incident to the police but the police ignored them. No police ever came.”
The gangsters besieged Shigu Village. They shouted, “Whoever stops the construction will die!”
Afterwards, Shigu villagers sought help from other villages in Dongzhou. According to one villager, over a thousand local residents went to help. They sent the injured villagers to the hospital. Some took up sticks to fight with the thugs. Three thugs were seriously injured, and their vehicles were burned by the villagers.
According to a witness, at this time, the police did come. They asked the villagers not to fight.
The villagers said angrily, “When the gangsters beat up the villagers, you did not come. Now that the gangsters are injured, you come immediately.”
According to a local resident, Wu Huajin is the leader of the gangsters. Those thugs are hired by some government officials to keep the construction of the power station going.
According to one villager, the site of this latest conflict is very close to the site of the Shanwei Massacre of 2005. After the massacre, many other small conflicts occurred. However, over one year has passed, and no one has been brought to justice for the massacre, and the conflict remains unresolved.