A group of more than 30 victims of forced demolition in China threatened that they would go to Beijing and commit group suicide if local officials did not address their grievances and pay them compensation for their homes that had been bulldozed to develop the land for an urban transformation project.
The group gathered outside the appeals office in Wuhan City, the capital of Hubei Province, on Nov. 20, showing off their letters of appeal, emblazoned with red thumbprints as a sign of their serious intentions. Their letters stated that in the past three years they have many times tried unsuccessfully to come to an agreement with local authorities over compensation payments.
“We now have no way out and cannot take it any more, both physically and mentally. We have lost hope, and the reality has forced us to commit suicide in Beijing in order to release us from this suffering,” one letter read.
Local authorities initiated an urban transformation project in Xinchun Viliage, Jiangan District of Wuhan City in October 2010, and many villagers’ homes were marked for demolition. According to the petitioners, authorities denied compensation to a group of villagers who were not original residents, but migrant workers. On July 29, 2011 authorities mobilized dozens of excavators and hired several hundred thugs who beat anyone who dared to resist the forced demolition. Dozens of villagers ended up in the hospital after the clash.
Ms. Cai Huiqing, one of the petitioners, told Epoch Times on the phone that although they were migrants, they had paid money to the village committee for the land they built their home on, and they had been living there for over ten years.
Mr. Wang Yuping, another petitioner, said that the local officials did not discuss compensation with them, and in the end they demolished their houses as “illegal” construction.
“We spent our life savings [to build the house]. Many people were beaten during the forced demolition. We were violently threatened. The government also cut off our water and electricity supplies and destroyed the road. Many households were affected, but many of them gave up. We are the only ones left still appealing,” he said.
According to Ms. Cai, the local authorities misled the petitioners these past three years, and the petitioners have become exhausted and hopeless in their appeals efforts. They therefore decided that their only option left was to commit suicide in Beijing during the Communist Party’s Plenary Session, Nov. 9-12. So they purchased pesticide for that purpose. But officials learned of their plan and intercepted the petitioners and took them back, saying that they would solve the problem.
“But, when we were back, the police director put us in a legal education [brain washing] class and threatened us,” Ms. Cai said. “They threatened us with various mean ways and locked us in an underground prison. We have no option left now.”
Forced demolitions and disagreements over compensation are a major source of discontentment among Chinese farmers and resident in rural areas where local governments have enriched themselves by grabbing villagers’ land for development projects.
Translated by Tan Hohua. Written in English by Gisela Sommer.
Read the original Chinese article.