Chinese Farmers Seize Excavators to Protest Forced Eviction

Tang Shiyan, a farmer living in the peripheral Qingbaijiang District of the booming provincial capital of Chengdu, told the Chengdu-based Tianwang Human Rights Center, that officials are evicting residents in the neighborhood to make way for a steel company. Since the eviction compensation offered by the government was “too low,” the farmers refused to move. The authorities snuck up on them at night with three excavators that were used to damage their homes.

Tang said in an interview with Tianwang:

At about midnight, (Sept. 30) some 20 unidentified persons—with some driving three excavators—crept up on us in the dark of the night. They kicked our door open and dragged Wang Yangjian outside and beat him up, while a few others went into the residence and injured Chen Shaomao and Wen Yanqun.

At about 12:30 a.m., the rest of us rushed back home. When they saw us all worked up and calling the police, they ran away.

Yet they didn’t get very far, at least not with their excavators. The farmers ran after them and seized the three excavators about 700 feet away as the attackers themselves fled.

While the government has yet to make any noise about the excavators or the damage to the homes, the farmers believe that most of the attackers were not state employees but gang members hired by the local officials, although a few were officials, eviction personnel that they have had previous interactions with.

With their homes damaged by the excavators, the farmers said their “most basic demand” is to have the attackers compensate them for their homes, or, in the worst case, auction off the excavators.

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