Feisty farmers seize local CCP chief

Desperate times call for desperate actions apparently, and now is the winter of the villagers’ discontent. I don’t know if holding the local communist official hostage is a wise strategy, but when in the course of human events…

More than 1,000 villagers in inner Mongolia took the local communist party chief hostage yesterday in the latest land dispute to rock the Chinese countryside.

Amid signs of division in the government about how to handle rural unrest, the residents of Qianjin village have driven off hundreds of armed police and blocked construction of a motorway they claim is being built through their crops and homes without adequate compensation.

“About 2,000 protesters have surrounded the local government office,” a resident, who declined to give her name, told the Guardian by telephone. “They are holding the general secretary and another official.”

Another resident, a middle-aged man who gave his surname as Zhang, said this was the first time the village had been in conflict with the police. “We only want our land and fairness,” he added.

The villagers in one of China’s poorest provinces say they had been paid only a fraction of the 9,900 yuan (£650) they were promised for each of the 180 mu (about 667 square metres) of land requisitioned for the motorway.

In protest, they halted the work by occupying the building site and seizing construction equipment. Last week they repelled more than 100 police who had been sent in to empty the site and arrest the ringleaders in a six-hour clash.

“The entire village is in a state of anarchy,” Han Guowu, the district chief, told Reuters. “Please trust the party and the government.”

But such pleas are falling on deaf ears as more and more Chinese peasants take matters into their own hands.

I really like that, “Please trust the party and the government.” A one-word response will suffice: “Why?”

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

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The Discussion: 10 Comments

ROFL! Go Chinese peasants!

I have to admit I find this hilarious, despite the serious nature of their grievances that must have spurred them to take such action. I think it’s an example of how China must privatise land rights immediately and let the common people own it outright.

Before anyone starts getting excited and denounces them as criminals, let’s remember the terrorists in places like Iraq, London, etc that we are always told have justification for their actions. Will these same people defend the peasants now? I wonder…..

July 29, 2005 @ 11:46 am | Comment

Famous last words.

July 29, 2005 @ 7:08 pm | Comment

“Please trust the party and the government.”

Famous last words.

July 29, 2005 @ 7:09 pm | Comment

Nah, this is the killer quote:

“Destabilising factors must be resolved at the grassroots and nipped in the bud,”

But I don’t think People’s Daily realises just how true that is: Get rid of the corrupt officials and replace them with people who will serve the people, the way public servants are supposed to, that would nip distabilising influences in the bud pretty quickly.

July 29, 2005 @ 8:16 pm | Comment

chriswaugh_bj, the Chinese government already is attempting to do that, but that is not the answer. (as an example, in the city I live in the last two city mayors have been arrested for corruption, and one moved elsewhere, but the next one will still do the same thing). The system is part of the problem. As Raj suggests, the land needs to be privatized to the farmers, that is one of the answers, but not the total answer. Part of the answer is that the economy must develop further so many of these poor farmers are involved in other parts of the economy. Also, the huge male female imbalance is another issue, etc.

July 29, 2005 @ 10:57 pm | Comment

Where In all of China is SOMEONE who cares about other people?Jsut a li’ beet cynical? No. Fact.

July 30, 2005 @ 7:36 am | Comment

This quote can be seen in two different views.

“Destabilizing factors must be resolved at the grassroots and nipped in the bud,”

I highly doubt it will be in favor of the farmers.

As for the post by “JFS”… If you don’t know already it’s a common scare tactic to “oust” the number one guy in hopes to scare strait everyone else. I see it and hear about it almost every week where I live and I live in a small town. Non the less it happens all the time and at every level of Government SOE’s, local, providence and on and on…

July 30, 2005 @ 10:47 am | Comment

The solution is to implement local elections to weed out the corrupt politicians or face ever rising unrest. What to do? What to do?

July 30, 2005 @ 12:42 pm | Comment

Nuke it!

July 30, 2005 @ 1:13 pm | Comment

Nude it.

I mean, by exposing their true colors.

July 30, 2005 @ 1:39 pm | Comment

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