Land Seizure in China Leaves Farmers Jobless, Officials Rich

December 2, 2009 Updated: December 2, 2009

Losing their land and their livelihood, farmers in a small village in China are standing up to local authorities, calling them “tyrants” for stealing their land.

More than 63 acres of land was taken by authorities, leaving 1,179 farmers without the means to support themselves, according to activist Zhang Jianping’s Rights Movement blog.

The seized land was allegedly meant to be used to build Pingnan County Road, but 45 acres was instead sold to real estate developers for profit, the blog said. Since 2008, the villagers have appealed to all levels of authorities many times including those in Beijing, but the issue is still unresolved.

“As farmers, we have been regarded as the second-class citizens for decades. Although we are supposed to have collective land ownership, it is not the case in reality at all,” Zhang said. “The village officials and the Communist Party officials are tyrants, and they have illegally taken our land. Officials like these have been doing land requisitions and demolitions nationwide for real estate development.

Zhang said suppression from local officials is the real reason for social instability in the area and he organized a letter signed by 150 villagers to be sent to all levels of the Chinese authorities.

The letter asked the authorities to immediately stop illegal land requisitions, return the already requisitioned land to the farmers, and settle with those that have already lost their land as soon as possible. The appeal letter also complained about the local regime’s suppression against those who have participated in rights protection activities.

Zhang said the compensation and settlement for the farmers is of primary importance. “The farmers do not have much education, or a registered urban residency. They have neither the skill to find work in the city, nor the opportunity to entitle as an urban citizen. Their survival will become a big problem for the society.”

Zhang told The Epoch Times that if the issue of survival is left unresolved, it will become a destabilizing factor to society and bring about more rights movements.

Pingnan County Party Secretary Chen Hui and Deputy Secretary Chen Daozhen but both denied the accusations when called by The Epoch Times.

The compensation for farmers is guaranteed by law, Zhang said. “However, as I said earlier, the officials are tyrants. The land is normally collectively owned, but in reality, it is in the hands of the officials, who have taken all the compensation and squandered it for their personal use.”

Read the original Chinese article