Taizhou city authorities sought to expropriate the land and forced protesting villagers to give up their property by threatening to implicate their family members.
In May this year, the local authorities ordered the residents of a village in Sanzhou township of Tiantai county to move out of their homes and sign a document, legally handing over their land to the government. The agreement stipulated that relocation must be voluntary and coercive means would not be used.
While most households obliged, four families decided to stand against the authorities since they feared that they would lose their source of income and they were not willing to bear losses worth 300,000 RMB or almost 43,000 USD due to such relocation.
The authorities threatened the protesting households verbally for several months, but on September 28, they came down heavy. More than 60 personnel from the local government, police station, health center, land management bureau, and other departments showed up.
Immediately, everyone took their positions with each house being guarded by at least three personnel. Jiang Jinfu (pseudonym), the most vocal of the protestors, was targeted in particular. Government officials grabbed him and his wife, twisting their arms behind their backs.
After that, police officers smashed open the stairwell door of Mr. Jiang’s home and rushed to the top of the building. They then used five electric hammers to drill holes through the roof and subsequently, cut off the power supply at his home.
The deputy chief of the town’s government rebuked Mr. Jiang and said, “You’re pitting yourself against the government. We need to make an example of you, and raze the homes of all disobedient villagers to the ground.” His wife fainted out of shock at this statement, but he still refused to the government’s bidding.
Two weeks later, he was forced to show up at the local government’s office. He was threatened again and told, “You’re not the one in charge, the government is. We’ll hand over your case to the court; and if it rules that your house should be demolished, then it will be.”
When Mr. Jiang refused to oblige still, the officials went a step further and threatened, “If you don’t sign the agreement by October 20, your daughter and son-in-law will be dismissed from their teaching posts immediately. We will also declare your home as a ‘dilapidated building’ and raze it to the ground, whether you sign or not.”
Mr. Jiang did not want his daughter and son-in-law to lose their jobs because of him, and so, he caved to the authorities. As per reports, this method of ‘guilt by association’ is a commonly deployed tactic of the Communist Party. While the local villagers and Mr. Jiang are upset at such intimidation and blackmail, they are left with no choice but to toe the line.
Reported by Lin Yijiang