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Collusion of officials and merchants to expropriate farmland in East China

Posted by Author on November 8, 2009

Donna Ware & Han Fei, SOH Radio Network, Nov. 8, 2009-

Some farmers in Wuhu City released an online petition, accusing the local government of collusion with an influential merchant. The merchant is accused of selling over 6.6 acres of agricultural land at a low price, causing many farmers to lose their land and become unemployed. The sale was also made without proper approval to convert farmland into an entertainment venue.

On November 4th, two villagers in Shi Wei Township spoke with a reporter about the collusion between officials and developers who had seized their farmland.

One villager named Chan angrily told a reporter that he had been appealing for a solution from authorities over the years. The local Letters & Complaints Bureau not only ignored his appeal, but used threats to intimidate him so that he would not petition again.

(Recording) “I have been appealing to the authorities. In January 2009, I also applied to the Complaints Bureau in Wuhu City, without response. Without my consent, the local government sold my private land to Tengfei Jewelry Company. I had not received any kind of compensation for my private land, the ownership of which evidenced by relevant documents. It is a system to protect farmland and, apparently, our agricultural fields were expropriated. The field is established under our scientific research and was forcibly taken away, which is the collusion of official and merchant. I appealed to the Wuhu City Complaint Bureau that intimidated me, saying: “You would be arrested if you were in the Complaint Bureau”. The Deputy of Wuhu City Complaints Office also said threateningly, “You should be concerned about your petty life”. Because I was afraid, I dared not air the issue.”

Villager Chan also revealed that corruption of local authorities has become very serious since 2002 when a succession of large blocks of farmland was illegally occupied. Commoners appealed to higher authorities, but the government merely acts carries out its routines with little real interest……. (more details from SOH)

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