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CHina: Violent Forced Evictions On The Rise

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CHina: Violent Forced Evictions On The Rise

Post  Panda on Thu 11 Oct - 8:06

China: Violent Forced Evictions On The Rise

Increasing numbers of people are being killed, beaten and harassed in China as part of a local government land-grab.

6:15am UK, Thursday 11 October 2012

Video: Violent Forced Evictions On The Rise In China

By Lisa Holland, Foreign Affairs Correspondent, in Beijing

Violent forced evictions in China are on the rise, according to the human rights group Amnesty International.

In a new report called "Standing Their Ground" Amnesty claims the number of people forced from their homes has increased significantly over the last two years to clear the way for new developments.

The report says local governments in China have borrowed huge sums of money from state banks and are relying on land sales to cover the payments.

This has resulted in deaths, beatings, harassment and imprisonment of residents who have been forced from their homes across the country in both rural and urban areas.

Amnesty says some residents became so desperate they set themselves on fire in protest.

It is calling for all forced evictions to be ended and for those who have been the victims of forced evictions to be given adequate alternative housing.
Forced evictions are being driven by the push for redevelopment
It also wants those who have used violence during forced evictions to be punished.

Nicola Duckworth, senior director of research at Amnesty International said: "There needs to be an end to the political incentives, tax gains and career advancements that encourage local officials to continue with such illegal practices."

The report says the forced evictions are being driven by the push for redevelopment by local governments.

Land is needed for new roads, factories and residential complexes.

Amnesty says of 40 forced evictions it examined in detail as part of its research, nine culminated in the deaths of people protesting or resisting eviction.

It says in one case a 70-year-old woman Wang Cuiyan, was buried alive by an excavator in March 2010 when a crew of about 30 to 40 workers came to demolish her house in Wuhan City in Hubei Province.
Such evictions are banned under international law
Amnesty says local officials continue to sanction or turn a blind eye to the harassment of residents by developers using ruthless tactics to force people out of their homes.

It says proper consultation or notice as required under international law as well as adequate alternative housing are rarely given and any compensation falls far short of the true market value.

Local officials continue to sanction or turn a blind eye to the harassment of residents by developers using ruthless tactics to force people out of their homes and sell their rights to land use.

Amnesty says local governments and property developers frequently hire thugs wielding steel rods and knives to rough up residents.

Housing rights activists, lawyers and academics in China confirmed Amnesty International's finding that the police hardly ever investigate such crimes.

One violent example occurred on April 18 last year when a few hundred men entered Lichang village in Jiangsu Province and attacked farmers to force them off their land.

About 20 women from the village were dragged away and beaten.

On June 15 last year, police in Wenchang city, Sichuan province even took custody of a 20-month old baby and refused to return him until his mother signed an eviction order.

The report says people who stage resistance to forced evictions often end up in jail or in Re-education Through Labour (RTL) Centres.

In one case, authorities in Shandong province assigned Li Hongwei, a victim of forced eviction, to 21 months' RTL detention for delivering two protest speeches in a plaza in May last year.

On May 17, in Hexia township, Jiangxi province, a woman was beaten and forced to undergo sterilisation after she had petitioned the authorities about her eviction, whilst other residents that accompanied her were beaten.

Amnesty International considers such forced sterilisation to be an act of torture.

Forced evictions - the removal against their will of individuals, families or communities from the homes or the land they occupy without access to legal or other protections - are banned under international law.
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