Villager Turns Violent to Halt Forced Demolition
In Central China’s Henan Province, a villager named Liu Danao killed six people and injured more than 20 by driving his truck over a demolition crew, according to local villagers.
On the morning of June 1, a demolition team arrived at Shibalihe Township in Zhengzhou, Henan Province to forcibly demolish residences. According to a witness, besides heavy machinery for demolition use, the crew also had an ambulance on standby.
Because such forced demolitions often turn into violent conflict in China, with many injured or even killed, the ambulance, along with police, ensure that the demolition can proceed without interruption.
“About 7:00 a.m., they started the demolition, but many villagers stood in front of the house to block them,” the witness told the Epoch Times reporter.
“Then a coordinator shouted through a speaker, ‘Team one, two, three—up and ready!’ They divided the police into three groups to remove the villagers. It was brutal!”
Police Smash Truck
During the conflict, Mr. Liu drove his truck in between the demolition machine and the house in order to stop the police as they pushed forward.
“Those policemen started to smash his truck, and after smashing the windshield, the police started to beat Liu. Because of his anger, Liu drove the truck into the demolition crew,” said the witness, adding that soon after, three trucks of armed police arrived on the scene, terrifying the villagers.
Local residents denied an official report, which stated that Liu had tried to flee but was later caught by the police. They said that Liu initially wanted to go to Beijing to turn himself in, fearing unjust treatment from the local police. But when he learned that the police had set up checkpoints, Liu, accompanied by a few villagers, turned himself in to the provincial public security office.
Liu’s wife, daughter, and several other relatives have also been detained by local police.
Large Company to Profit
According to local villagers, the demolition will clear land for an industrial park for Yutong Group, Ltd., which is a large company engaged in engineering, real estate, bus manufacturing, and other heavy industries.
Previously, the government had also attempted to demolish the area, but was blocked by local villagers because no government agency had entered into any compensation agreement with them. The locals are worried that after the demolition, they will not have anywhere to turn for compensation.
After the incident, a very brief report was released by official media, which claims that Liu, while driving his truck, ran over a crowd of observers, causing four deaths and 15 injured.
Bloggers Speak Out
Chinese surfers have a different understanding of the incident, and their comments are overwhelmingly sympathetic toward Liu. One online commentator said that there was no other way an ordinary citizen could resist the government's forced demolition: “Even self-immolation could not stop them. The only thing that follows is violence.”
Forced demolition happens in China on a regular basis. Some local governments use paramilitary police to ensure the demolition.
In 2009, several residents set themselves on fire to protest the demolition of their homes.
Until recently, very few government officials have been penalized for injuries or deaths incurred during the forced-demolition process.