Bitter Winter received a video showing how authorities in Fujian Province’s assaulted local villagers who were defending their land.
On March 28, 2016, authorities in Gutian county, Ningde city, Fujian Province forcibly seized 345 mu (approximately 57 acres) of farmland with a pretext of “building primary schools and parks.” Since the land was taken without signing an agreement with the villagers, they opposed the government’s activities.
Local government officials mobilized over 100 special police and local thugs and, using several excavators, demolished the farmland’s irrigation facilities and most of the cultivated land, destroying all the crops. Several activists from the village were beaten so severely by the police that they had to be hospitalized. Three villagers—Chen Yaoming, Chen Xinming, and Chen Ganming—were detained. Another villager, Yang Meixian, was sentenced to 10 months of incarceration for “obstructing public service,” because she got into a physical altercation with police officers amidst the chaos. The police officers and thugs who injured the villagers did not receive any punishment.
On September 16, 2017, the Party secretary of Gutian county’s Chengxi residential district, accompanied by more than 300 security workers and other personnel, came and forcibly razed all of the disputed farmland. Besides, they buried all the crops and agricultural tools, and forcibly evicted the farmers. One elderly farmer was injured in the process and was hospitalized.
Although the local government declared in 2016 that the purpose of seizing the land was to build primary schools and parks, a large part of the arable land has been abandoned, and no construction works have commenced.
Having lost their farmland, the villagers have no way to make a living. They made multiple attempts to seek justice and defend their legitimate interests, but the authorities ignored them. Yang Meixian has not been released even though she has served her sentence.
Reported by Lin Yijiang