Villagers clashed with public security forces in eastern China’s Anhui Province on Nov. 3, after the authorities attempted to begin demolishing thousands of houses to make way for a new construction project.
As is typical in such scenarios, local officials are said to have colluded with the developer to expropriate the villagers’ land, giving them only paltry compensation and intending to pick up a big share of lucre for themselves in the bargain.
A villager at the Meilong Township, Chizhou City, Anhui Province, told The Epoch Times that in the morning of Nov. 3 the local mayor, Fang Xiping, escorted by armed police and urban management and public security officers, came to negotiate on the demolition and relocation project. The villager said the mayor was arrogant in demeanor, and insisted that he would rather demolish the houses even if it cost him his office.
The villagers were infuriated, a serious clash broke out, and the mayor fled the scene under police protection, left behind his car smashed by the villagers.
The villager said there were over 1,000 people there to protest, that some villagers were wounded and hospitalized, and that more than two hundred special police officers, public security officers, and traffic police were deployed against them.
After the incident, local authorities closed the main roads, a measure which villagers also protested against for the next several days.
Following up the road blockade, the authorities also launched a soft-sell strategy the following day: 30 to 40 operatives were organized to begin visiting each household, ostensibly to seek the opinions of the masses on the matter. Drawing on years of experience under communist rule in China, villagers were highly skeptical of the professed sincerity of the officials in collecting their views; they assume the real purpose was to prevent them from taking to the streets again.
Villagers hadn’t heard about the compensation package until it was announced at a mobilization meeting on Oct. 30; then, the authorities gave them until Nov. 30 pack up and leave—this applies to about 2,000 households in four or five villages, an interviewee said.
The brusque treatment at the hands of Party bureaucrats, coupled with the far from adequate payment proposed (one third of that stipulated by law), angered the villagers enough to riot.
They say they won’t budge until they receive adequate compensation.