A toddler died under the tracks of a bulldozer in Fujian Province on Wednesday, reportedly while her family was trying to prevent a construction crew from flattening their land.
The girl’s father, Hong Bingsheng, said that the family had been negotiating compensation for acquisition of the land, according to a report by AFP.
“I asked an official from the demolition team: ‘What is more important–human life or land acquisition?’” Hong told AFP. “The official replied: ‘Land acquisition is more important.’”
“We live in the developing zone and they wanted to acquire our land. We haven’t settled a compensation agreement, and they killed my daughter with a bulldozer,” Hong added.
The family carried the dead girl to the office of local authorities in protest. Photos appeared on Sina Weibo of a bruised body with blood coming out of the head, lying on a table.
However, local officials and police said no negotiations were taking place over the family’s property.
An official at the Zhangpu district office, who wished to remain nameless, told AFP: “There’s no demolition. Yes, the girl died. But she was accidentally killed by the bulldozer when they were flattening the (adjacent) land as she sneaked into the building site and played there.”
Forced land grabs are common in China, where local officials can expropriate land from farmers and other poor people for little or no compensation, and onsell it to property developers for profit.
The girl was either three or four years old — reports in the Chinese press differed. Photographs of the crushed child, with blood coming from its head, and a parent crying over it, were quickly shared nearly 50,000 times on Weibo.