Village Mayor Defends Land Rights, Escapes Authorities
Xu Kun, mayor of a seaside village in southern China, has become another victim in the relentless wave of Chinese officials' land acquisitions.
More than 200 police officers—under orders from the Communist Party secretary of Beihai City, Wang Xiaodong—surrounded his home on May 8.
Assisted by local residents, Xu narrowly escaped capture. He is mayor of the Baihutou Village in Yintan Township, the Yinhai District, under the jurisdiction of Beihai City in Guangxi Province.
Villager Mai Xian saw the scene unfold. “It was really scary. There were a couple hundred police officers and paramilitary agents fully armed with shields and electric batons. They surrounded Xu Kun’s home. The police chief demanded that he open the door.
“Xu Kun’s mother was so angry she lost consciousness. The police did not come to her aid. The villagers took her to an emergency room. After Xu Kun managed to escape, he posted a note online. Only after that did the police leave.”
The Baihutou seaside village, with approximately 2,650 residents living in 200 households, spans 769 mu (about 127 acres). Its main industries are fishing and tourism.
Beihai City authorities tried to force all residents to relocate in 2006 in an attempt to confiscate their land. Former Mayor Feng Kun provoked residents’ outrage by signing an agreement with the Beihai City Land Reserve Center without their knowledge or approval. Feng was voted out of office in the 2008 election, and Xu Kun became mayor.
Xu Kun is currently in hiding. He told The Epoch Times, “I am using the law to protect the rights of residents here. If [the city of Beihai] wants to acquire land, how are they going about it? What is the purpose?
“Do they have proper plans and permits? If they do, I need to see them, and I need to show them to the residents. To date, they have shown me nothing. We haven’t even seen the original relocation agreement.”
It’s the Villagers’ Property
Despite pressure from superiors, Xu has consistently refused to sign any agreement. His membership in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was revoked in March 2009, and his official seal was rescinded in April 2009.
Xu said, “The property doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to the villagers, and it [any agreement to release the land] only works if all the villagers agree.”
Xu Kun doesn’t dare return home. His mother is still hospitalized. Police beat and injured his brother and niece.
“Many villagers are quietly supporting me,” he said. “A few of us from the village are fighting with the entire Beihai government and an interest group. It is very difficult for just a few of us to try and force the Beihai government to follow the law. We would be happy just to be compensated for what our villagers deserve.”
The Epoch Times has learned that of the 769 mu of land in Baihutou Village, the Beihai government only has documentation to acquire 403 mu. Villager Xie said, “But now they want all the land. What will we live on in the future?”
“They didn’t promise to give us any more land,” Xu Kun said. “We can no longer fish. What are we going to do in the future? How are we going to make a living? There is no plan. They are not concerned about the livelihood of the villagers, but I must be.”