Villagers in the provinces of Hubei and Yunnan have been resisting land grabs by local governments in recent days.
On March 18, villagers at Jingtoushan Farm in Hubei’s Yangxin County demonstrated against local officials for subletting without consent more than 1,000 acres of their farmland to a company in Fujian Province.
Numerous police officers and unidentified individuals arrived at the village, beat the protesters, and let off tear gas. They forced the villagers to sign an agreement to turn over the land, and arrested more than a dozen people. The distraught villagers stood in front of the police cars to prevent them from leaving.
A netizen identifying herself as a pregnant villager posted the message to Weibo: “Please save us. The government used threats and deception to force every family to sign, and in the afternoon they even used tear gas, and hired thugs to attack us. They arrested over a dozen people, including women.”
The next day, the villagers elected one representative per household to petition in Huangshi City, where almost 100 people knelt in front of the town hall in the rain until the authorities promised to investigate the matter.
A similar situation occurred in the Dali Prefecture, Yunnan Province, on March 20, where the Yunlong City government forcibly expropriated farmland in Shijin Village, Jianao Town.
The Yunlong County deputy magistrate led nearly 20 vehicles to the site, and a villager’s ribs were broken during the violent scene that followed, incensing the locals, who shouted, “Bury the magistrate alive.” The villagers managed to intercept 11 of the vehicles, including police cars, before the magistrate fled.
The authorities told media afterwards that their vehicles had been left at the scene, but denied that any villagers were injured.
A resident told The Epoch Times that the local government had expropriated the land of the Shijin villagers for silver and copper mining. The villagers thought there would be too much pollution, but the government took the land anyway.