SICHUAN, CHINA – Farmers from the No. 1 commune in Jiefang Village, Anyue County, Sichuan Province still have not received any proper compensations from the government after it appropriated all of their lands in 2002. Unable to make a living, the farmers initiated a movement this November to protect their lands and prevent development of the grounds. But the Anyue County government sent thousands of people to forcefully enter the village and began construction work. The ordeal caused numerous injuries and nine abductions, four of which resulted in serious injuries requiring hospitalization.
The No. 1 commune of Jiefang Village has a population of 598 people. In 2002, the county government announced that it would appropriate the village’s land. Moreover, the government deducted 3.41 million yuan (US$ 0.43 million) from compensation that should have been paid to the farmers, claiming that the money would be used as a social security fund. However, at present, the farmers have received neither insurance settlements nor job placements.
In a status report given to the Sichuan Province inspection team, the Anyue County Party Secretary and the county head lied in a TV interview claiming that everything had been settled with the farmers who had lost their lands. This deceit outraged the farmers.
The local Land Resources Administration Bureau has been known to make substantial profits by forcefully appropriating land at low prices and selling it to real estate developers at higher prices. The developer at the No. 1 commune in Jiefang Village is Jiang Meiyun, son of Jiang Zuquan, the county’s Chairman of the People’s Congress. In addition to holding considerable amounts of power, these people have also drafted the help of mobsters in pursuit of their goals.
According to one of the villagers who lost his land, the farmers have been guarding their lost lands from the developers since November. As a result, at 8 a.m. on November 10, 2005, the Auyue County government directed thousands of people to forcefully enter the vegetable field, to allow Jiang Meiyun to continue with construction plans.
After the police arrived, road blocks were established, limiting the transportation of all vehicles and pedestrians. Later, all pedestrians and farmers at the scene were ordered to leave within 10 minutes. At the same time, hi-tech monitoring systems were set up.
Police academy students with batons encircled the farmers, after which policemen with no badge numbers abducted farmers by beating, dragging, pulling and pushing them. Nine farmers were arrested: Tao Xianglin, Wang Shujun, Zhang Jiefu, Zhao Yiwan, Zhao Yihua, Hu Si, Kang Houguo, Wang Guangming and Chen Nengbi.
In an interview, farmers told the correspondent that during the confrontation, before an 80-year-old farmer, Tao Shi-Quan, could understand anything, he was beaten to the ground into unconsciousness. His son and daughter-in-law attempted to rescue him, but both were abducted into the anti-violence truck. Angered and unarmed farmers questioned the police on their actions, only to be taken themselves.
Mr. Kang, one of the farmers at the scene, still has bruises all over his body. Two stone smiths in the village were also abducted hand-in-hand by two phony policemen, but were able to escape through brute strength. In addition, farmers who had returned from the hospital were also beaten. Among them, 75-year-old farmer Sun Fanbi was dragged down from a truck by the police and is still suffering from his injuries. Farmer Liu Yunqiong was beaten into unconsciousness, while another farmer, Zhao Ronggui, had a handful of his hair pulled out by a policeman.
After the farmers were under custody, thousands of policemen uprooted all of the vegetables in the fields, destroying crops that the farmers had tended to for half a year. This caused the village to be filled with anger and despair.
At the time of writing of this article, one farmer remains hospitalized. The abducted farmers were released within 24 hours and many farmers had gone to appeal to the county officials.
Besides Jiefang Village, approximately over 3,000 farmers have lost their land in Yueyang County. Forcefully appropriating land from the farmers has occurred numerous times. It is through such use of force that the construction of industrial parks, gas stations, and landfills all became possible.
“The No. 1, 2, 7, 8 communes of Wanshou Village, No. 1, 2, 3 communes of Beiba Village, as well as Kuian Village have all been suppressed by the government’s force. Countless farmers were abducted, beaten and injured.” Kang said.
According to a local human rights protection personnel, “Farmers who lost their land live very miserable lives. They have nothing to live on. Young farmers go to work outside of the villages. Women and children grow a small amount of vegetables at home. Now even the vegetable field is no longer there. The government doesn’t care about them at all. We sent out many letters asking for help, but received no response. The letters posted online were deleted immediately after they were posted. No media is allowed to report the events either.”