On Monday, November 21st, around 5,000 people marched from Wukang Village in Shanwei, Guangdong Province. Arriving at government offices in Lufeng City, they demanded the return of farmland seized by local authorities for development. But Chinese media reports on Monday played down the number of protestors. On Tuesday, locals angry at the reports marched again.
[Xue Xiansheng, Wukang Resident]:
“I saw a report by a local TV station in Lufeng. It said we had 400 people protesting, but we had at least no less than 4,000. Some people estimated 6,000, figures of 4,000 to 6,000. They reported that we only had 400 people. Everyone in the village was angry.”
The conflict first heated up in September when hundreds of residents ransacked local government offices in Lufeng and bulldozed a wall around the disputed land.
Residents are now angry that local authorities still haven’t listened to their grievances.
Land grabs are often linked to collusion between businesses and local officials. Professor Hu Xingdou from the Beijing Institute of Technology says the problem is particularly serious in southern China.
[Hu Xingdou, Professor of China Issues, Beijing Institute of Technology]:
“(Corruption) is quite serious all over China. But of course, in the south the land grab problem is bigger. Its industrial sector is developing at a faster rate, so land grabbing in the industrial and agricultural sectors is more serious. That’s why corruption in the south is probably worse. The amount of money involved is also greater, because the land is worth more money.”
Land grabs in China are increasing and spreading to the less developed west of the country.
Wukang villagers told NTD that instead of yielding to their demands, local authorities in Lufeng have increased their propaganda efforts and ideological education of the villagers.