September 24th, 2011
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China protest: “Give us back our farmland”

China protest against land grabbersBeijing: More than 1000 Chineese protestors unite and rais e their voice against  government seizure of farmlands. Farmers gathered in front of a government building banging gongs and holding aloft signs that said “Give us back our farmland” and “Let us continue farming.

The rioters in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong have besieged government buildings, attacked police officers and overturned SWAT team vehicles during protest, said officials in Shanwei. According to a government Web site, hundreds of people on Wednesday blocked an important highway while others mobbed the local headquarters of the Communist Party and a police station in the city of Lufeng, injuring a dozen officers.

The authorities say the violence escalated on Thursday after rumors spread that the police had killed a girl. At least four people were arrested, including a man officials accused of instigating the crowd.

According to a local Web site, the Lufeng city government has already sold off more than 800 acres of the property for industrial parks and high-priced housing. The proffered compensation per acre, villagers said, has been barely enough to buy a new bed.

“Wake up, my neighbors, if we don’t unite now, the land of our ancestors will be sold off to the last square meter! If we don’t unite now, our children will be homeless!” and “We will have no where to bury our parents or raise our children!” are some of the protest postings.

This violence is the latest outbreak of civil unrest in China catalysed by popular discontent over industrial pollution, police misconduct or illegal land grabs that leave peasants with little or no compensation. Such “mass incidents,” as the government calls them, have been steadily increasing in recent years, providing party leaders with worrisome proof that official malfeasance combined with a dysfunctional judiciary often has combustible results.

Last week, hundreds of residents protested against environmental contamination caused by a solar panel factory in Zhejiang Province.Weeks earlier, 12,000 people peacefully gathered in Dalian city demanding the closure of a chemical factory.


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