Villagers Protest Land Grabs by Officials in South China

By Wang Liang, Epoch Times
May 13, 2013 Updated: May 13, 2013

During a standoff with authorities over land grabs in Fujian Province, villagers took several officials hostage, including a special force police officer who was handcuffed and paraded through town.

After repeated conflicts between police and locals over land confiscation and compensation issues, close to a thousand local townspeople from Dongqiao Town in Quanzhou City, gathered in front of the office of Nanhu Village Committee on May 11. 

They threw rocks at the police, and police eventually backed into the office building. Villagers then entered the building and captured the county and town chiefs and two staff members, according to China’s Jasmine Revolution website, which covers human rights issues.

The Epoch Times telephoned Dongqiao Town Police Station on May 12, and the officer on duty did not deny the incident but hung up the phone. 

According to a source, authorities are sending for more armed police, and the local residents are preparing to defend themselves.

The police have raided the village many times, and the conflict has worsened over China’s Jasmine Revolution said. 

At 7 a.m. on May 4, about 100 special police officers went to the village, arresting and beating many. 

On the evening of May 10, police again arrested villagers, resulting in a conflict with more than 2,000 residents. 

The next morning, police continued arresting and beating people, including the elderly. 

Mr. Feng, a Nanhu Village resident, told The Epoch Times that authorities illegally seized about 5,000 acres of villagers’ land near the Xingcuo Sea for a construction company from Quanzhou, and residents from nearby towns have been protesting the expropriation for a long time. 

Feng said the average amount of arable land per person in the area is only 0.03 acres, and residents cannot get by on farming so depend heavily on ocean resources. Hence taking away over 5,000 acres of their land near the sea is threatening their livelihoods. 

Local authorities have not communicated with the villagers nor provided them with reasonable compensation, Feng said. People have protested over this repeatedly, but still have not received any answers. The authorities also prohibited media from reporting on the matter. 

Translated by Hsin-Yi Lin. Written in English by Gisela Sommer.

Read the Chinese article.