By our regional editor in China, Zhang.
In less than four years the village of Taiping in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province in south-west China, has seen over 70% of its residents expelled by the authorities. Despite fervent protest on the part of the inhabitants, there are now only 300 houses where 1000 used to stand, and still the project continues. The most recent development in the programme has seen 33000 square metres of collectively-owned land sold - in secret - to developers for 1.2m RMB (€115,000). This amount is considered to be extremely low for such an area and, furthermore, the villagers who live on the land will receive almost nothing from the payment.
Forced out of their homes by riot police last Friday afternoon, two of the residents ended up in hospital - one of them 82 years old. Cut off from electricity and water by the government, the entire village had slowly become more and more inhabitable every day.
And the villagers' part of the deal? Three percent of the payment divided between all of them. Any right to complain? Petitioners against the plans were either imprisoned or silenced.
Commentary from Chinese blogger He Weihua
He Weihua is a blogger from Leiyang City, Hunan Province:
By January last year, the Ministry of Supervision and the Ministry of Land and Resources had already counted 22,395 breaches of land law.
The developments started after the National Council gave permission to developers to plan in rural areas. In September, the Department for National Development and Reform announced that they ‘aimed to promote urbanisation'. The project plans to move 75% of peasants out of their villages and into urban areas.
While three thousand million peasants swarm into the cities, three thousand million farms and homes will become national property. This is all to do with accumulating capital for people who are already wealthy.
The fact that rural, collectively-owned lands have suddenly become state-owned simply means that the government is depriving their people of human rights. They took that land with force! Land-law is human rights!"
Video posted on YouTube by ‘RFAVideo', 31 December 2008.
On 26 December last year, the government of the Baima community in Dongguan City (south) forced 1000 home-owners to sell their houses to them for €800 each. The government then went on the sell the plots of land for over €8000 each. The villagers came to the area to protest, but were faced by riot police. Ten of the protesters ended up in hospital.
Video posted on YouTube by ‘RFAVideo', 11 January 2008.
In a similar case, over 400 officers were sent to demolish two villagers' houses in Chengdu. More than 200 local residents came out to protest, but they were ignored and the inhabitants were unable to re-enter as the buildings were demolished.
Video posted on YouTube by ‘RFAVideo', 18 January 2008.
This video was taken after the residents of Taiping were banned from their village. They were prevented from returning to their homes by riot police.