Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Land takings protests
I mentioned some time ago that many of the issues causing social unrest in China are pollution and land takings related. One more article about village protests, of the many articles that appear in the Chinese news media all the time, focuses on peasants being kicked off land near Tianjin, a large port city close to Beijing. (SCMP 4/4/06). Villagers have been displaced in order to make room for a 177 km express way connecting Beijing with Tianjin. Like in many other instances, they are protesting corruption by local officials that has resulted in the peasants being cheated out of the compensation that the government has paid for the land taking. By some Chinese estimates (Zhou Tianyong of the Central Party School), peasants only get 10% of the value of the land as compensation; the rest is pocketed primarily by corrupt officials. According to the same estimates, the total value of the land that has been taken from peasants with China's modernization amounts to somewhere around 5 trillion RMB.