Taoist Rituals Last Resort for Chinese Villagers
In rural China, it has come to this: peasants calling on the services of a local Taoist to summon the forces of heaven to punish a local official who effectively seized their land.
According to the Southern Metropolis Daily, a group of villagers in Guangdong Province got so fed up with unsuccessfully seeking justice from local authorities for seven years, that they decided to consult a practitioner of the Tao for help.
Residents from Qingshui River village in Shenzhen invited the Taoist to set up an altar, and ask heaven to punish Liang Weixin, the village head.
In traditional China, followers of the Tao, or the Way, believe that benevolent acts beget good returns, while bad deeds are met with retribution. Based on this belief, Chinese peasants sometimes call upon Taoists to exorcise evil spirits when there is an unusual illness or misfortune in the family.
On April 8, more than 10 villagers and a man wearing Taoist garb burned incense and performed rituals, while citing incantations against corruption.
Liang, the chief of the village, sold 50,000 square meters of land worth 2 billion yuan ($323 million) to real estate developers for only 30 million yuan (nearly $5 million). He also formed a business partnership with the developer, and villagers will receive 20 percent of the property value after construction is completed.
A local called Liang Ronghui told Southern Metropolis Daily that the villagers are not even guaranteed to get 20 percent as, based on the contract, it will become an investment from the village if the developer works on future projects in the village. Under those conditions, it would mean the developer gets the land for free.
The villagers say officials have been making huge profits for a long time by expropriating group-owned land, according to the report. As there have been no local elections in more than a decade, Liang Weixin has remained village head. After petitioning for seven years, locals’ last hope is that heaven will give the corrupt official his dues, now they have received assistance from a Taoist.
Read the original Chinese article.