Farmer Commits Suicide After Authorities Take His Land

February 10, 2006 12:00 am Last Updated: February 10, 2006 12:00 am

A Chinese farmer committed suicide last month after village authorities confiscated his land to build a road. The farmer, Zhao Qingxing from Yangxi village, Lanxi city, Zhejiang Province, tried many times to defend his right to the land, but was unsuccessful. On January 9, 2006 he killed himself by drinking pesticide.

Illegal Land Acquisition for Village Road

In the fall of 2005, the administration of Yangqingqiao Village in Lanxi city, Zhejiang Province planned to construct a road from the village office block to a railroad junction. In order to do this, they needed to acquire a strip of land sixty meters wide and one kilometer long. They announced their intentions to the Shiguan and Yangqingqiao villagers and began to measure the land.

After the village commission's preliminary survey of the land, Zhao Qingxing discovered that about 0.75 acres of his 0.815 acres of land were within the total purchase range. The village commission was prepared to pay Zhao Qingxing 99,494 Yuan (approximately US$ 12,283). Zhao Qingxing lost the largest piece of land out of all the villagers. Only part of the land purchased was for the road construction; the other uses are unknown.

Authorities Cut Off Utilities and Close Zhao's Shop

When the village party committee purchased the land from the villagers they had no government documents or contracts with any of the villagers. Zhao Qingxing disagreed with the unreasonable conditions set by the village committee. He was summoned many times by Zen Yuelai, Huang Zhenhai and other members of the village commission to talk about the situation, but without success. The village commission then took action against Zhao's family in an attempt to force him to sign away his land. They cut off the family's electricity and water and closed down their shop. They forced Zhao to unconditionally accept all of the village party committee's requests, otherwise they would take him to the police station. Zhao Qingxing told them: “You should buy however much land you are going to use and leave the rest for me to farm. Otherwise, you should raise the price of the land, because after the land is sold, my family would have almost no land, with no way to support ourselves.” However, this request was rejected.

Village Party leader Wu Laixing: “Today We Must Dig Up His Field”

On January 2, 2006, an excavator started digging up Zhao's farmland without his knowledge. They were only able to dig up a corner of the land before Zhao and his wife stopped them. On the morning of January 9, 2006, many of the village cadres held a meeting with the village commission and decided to dig up his farm. At the meeting, the village's party leader Wu Laixing said: “It doesn't matter if he agrees or not, or if he interferes or not, today they must carry out the process and dig up his field. Of course Zhao will be angry, but you must not stop. It is okay if you injure him, just don't kill him. You have to stop him, or else there will be trouble.”

Zhao Commits Suicide after His Pleading Has No Effect

When Zhao Qingxing heard this news, he rushed to the field. The village cadres and about 30 villagers with police batons were already on the field with the excavators. Zhao Qingxing begged the cadre not to dig up the land. He knelt before Yan Guanlin, the village's deputy party leader, requesting the excavation to stop. The village cadre paid no attention and ordered the excavation to continue. At 11 o'clock, Zhao Qingxing pulled a medicine bottle from his pocket and said, “The issues [referring to the age insurance and the land price] have not been settled; you can't come and dig up the field. If you are going to continue forcefully, I will drink this pesticide.”

One village cadre, Bai, ridiculed Zhao and said, “Is that syrup that you have?” Zhao Qingxing poured some out for him to smell and said, “It is really pesticide.” Afterwards, a village guard named Jipi crept up behind Zhao Qingxing and tried to seize the jar. The chemicals poured out onto Zhao Qingxing's hand. At this point, some of the bystanders said that they should take Zhao Qingxing to the police station. About 10 people came forward and shouldered Zhao. Zhao Qingxing licked the chemicals off his hand in desperation. He was then taken to the town's medical center. Meanwhile, Wu Laixing stayed behind to continue the excavation. The village leader still had not notified any family members.

Where is the Law? Where is the Justice? Where are the People's Servants? [ Translator's note: The Communist Party call themselves “People's Servants” because they claim to serve the people. ]

At 11:20, Zhao Qingxing was sent to the town's medical center. The village cadre told the medical personnel that Zhao had only licked his hand once. The hospital workers started to pump his stomach and then called for the municipal People's Hospital first-aid center. The ambulance took 20 minutes to arrive. When they arrived at the People's Hospital at 12 noon, Zhao Qingxing heart and pulse had already stopped. He couldn't breathe on his own. His family members were finally informed and the first relative rushed to the first-aid center at 12:10. The rescue attempts lasted until 4:45 in the afternoon. His heart and lungs were still not functioning and the hospital gave up on the treatment.

The body is still at the funeral parlor and his family members are deeply grieving. The family and friends who watched Zhao Qingxing die asked angrily, “Where is the law? Where is the justice? Where are the 'people's servants?'”. The villagers have appealed, hoping the incident will draw sympathy and attention from people around the world to punish the corrupt officials who have committed this great injustice to Zhao Qingxing.