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Central China Farmers Protest Land Grabs

Posted by Author on July 22, 2009

In an undated photo, residents of Nanwan village in southern Guangdong province protest outside a government building against alleged corruption surrounding an eel farm built on their land. (Provided by villagers, published by Radio Free Asia)

Radio Free Asia, 2009-07-22 –

In an undated photo, residents of Nanwan village in southern Guangdong province protest outside a government building against alleged corruption surrounding an eel farm built on their land. (Provided by villagers, published by Radio Free Asia)

HONG KONG— Villagers in one of the poorest regions of China have vowed they will fight a government proposal to use their farmland for a cement factory, as a deadline for agreement set by local officials passed on Wednesday.

Residents of poverty-stricken Gushi county in the central province of Henan said they had been sent a letter only last week by village-level officials proposing the sale of a plot of desperately needed farmland at below-market compensation levels.

Dongba village resident Wang Dengyou said the villagers are dependent on agriculture as a way to eke out a living.

“Our plan was not to sell this land,” said Wang, who received the government letter offering 12,500 yuan (U.S.$1,830) per mu (0.06 hectares). “If we sell it, then we won’t have anything to eat.”

“We decided that it wasn’t enough compensation,” he said. “Even if the price was a bit higher, if we sold it we would still have lost our food supply.”

The government letter also threatened the villagers with land requisition and no compensation at all if they refused the offer, residents said.

Alleged corruption

Villagers accused local officials of skimming off a high percentage of money received from the property developers for the land.

“If you think about it, the county government has received 20,000 yuan per mu, while they are only offering 12,500 yuan per mu to the villagers,” Dongba resident Yang Huaibing said.

“This is being pulled by [officials in] our village.”

Calls to the Dongba village government and nearby Wangpeng village government went unanswered during office hours Tuesday.

According to local media reports, a series of land disputes has followed county Party secretary Guo Yongchang’s 2004 pledge to bring more investment to Henan, which has some of the poorest rural communities in China, as local officials make bids to acquire land in the area.

New developments have included spacious business centers and palatial government office buildings, reports said……. (more details from Radio Free Asia)

One Response to “Central China Farmers Protest Land Grabs”

  1. thebamboosea said

    Excellent article.

    http://thebamboosea.wordpress.com/2009/12/04/governor-lee-a-moral-man-part-1/

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