China: government land grabs spark resistance

Gerrard Winstanley office at
Mon Jan 30 19:11:48 GMT 2006

Public unrest over govt. land grabs in China
China has announced another rise in public disturbances in 2005, as 
rapid economic growth continued to spark social unrest. 

The Public Security Ministry said it handled 87,000 public 
disturbances last year, a rise of more than 6% on 2004. 

The figures come amid growing anger at official corruption and several 
high-profile land disputes between authorities and villagers. 

China's leaders see social unrest as the biggest threat to their rule. 
6 Nov 2004: Paramilitary troops put down an uprising of 100,000 
farmers in Sichuan province
10 April 2005: 20,000 peasants drive off more than 1,000 riot police 
in Huaxi, Zhejiang province
11 June 2005: Six farmers die in a fight with armed men in Shengyou, 
Hebei province
29 July 2005: Villagers in Taishi, Guangdong try to oust mayor
6 Dec 2005: Police shoot dead protesters in Dongzhou, Guangdong
14 Jan 2006: Police break up protest in Sanjiao, Guangdong, over land 

A ministry spokesman said the figure did not refer just to mass 
protests, but to all criminal cases linked to public disorder, 
including mob gatherings, obstruction of justice, fighting and 

Disputed accounts 

China's official statistics are unreliable. But a BBC correspondent in 
Beijing, Louisa Lim, says the trend suggests growing social 
instability in China, as an ever-widening wealth gap leaves many 
excluded from the country's economic boom. 

A key cause of some of the most high-profile unrest has been land 
seizures by corrupt local officials, who have sometimes failed to give 
adequate compensation to villagers. 

In the most recent incident, villagers said police in the southern 
province of Guangdong beat locals protesting over a land grab. 
Villagers said a teenage girl died in the protest, though officials 
denied this. 

Guangdong also saw a violent protest over land requisitions in 
December, in Dongzhou village. 

Paramilitary forces opened fire on demonstrators, killing three people 
according to official accounts, and as many as 30, according to 

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