Thousands in Foshan Protest Illegal Land Acquisition

By Lin Yuguo, Central News Agency
April 11, 2006 12:00 am Last Updated: April 11, 2006 12:00 am

HONG KONG – According to reports, farmers in Foshan City, Guandong Province suspected a local Township Committee of illegally acquiring more than 2,000 mu (330 acres) of the farmers' land. The farmers' dissatisfaction of the farmers has exploded into violent protest. On April 5, over a thousand local residents gathered in Foshan's Titian Township to protest the corrupt officials' illegal seizure of their farmland.

Mr. Liu, a resident of Nanzhuang Town, Titian Township, told Hong Kong's Apple Daily that some Township Committee leaders were suspected of the illegal acquisition and sale over 2300 mu of land without the approval of the farmers. The officials have not yet made the records public.

It was said that, local farmers had initially appealed to the municipal and provincial National Land and Resources bureau. On the morning of April 5, more than 1,500 villagers joined the protest. Large banners with messages like “Fight Against the Corrupt Officials and Protect Our Homeland” and “Return the Farm Land to Us!” were hung up on Jihua Bridge.

Around 1,000 police arrived at the scene to dispel the protesters. More than 10 people were arrested. Three of them were not released as of the noon of April 7.

On April 7, Minister Sun Wensheng of Land and Resource admitted in a work conference that serious corruption still exists in the national land and resources industry; some local governments are especially lax when dealing with corrupt officials.