2,000 farmers battle police in Inner Mongolia

These greedy farmers sure have a lot of nerve.

More than 2,000 disgruntled farmers have clashed with hundreds of policemen in China’s northern region of Inner Mongolia in a land dispute that injured dozens, sources said on Wednesday.

The July 21 clash in Qianjin village, a part of Tongliao city about 725 km (450 miles) northeast of Beijing, was one of a growing number of protests across China, most of which go unreported in the tightly controlled state media.

“Some policemen were armed with guns, but they did not open fire,” a farmer who requested anonymity told Reuters. “The clash lasted about six hours. Police were outnumbered and fled.”

Dozens of villagers were injured and rushed to nearby hospitals, he said.

Farmers seized bulldozers and other construction equipment intended for use in building a highway across the farmers’ land, which had been reclaimed by the government, he said.

Local government officials and police reached by telephone either declined to comment or claimed they had no knowledge of the clashes.

But Han Guowu, chief of the Ke’erqin district in which Qianjin is located, said in a telephone interview that the farmers had refused to turn over their farmland and blocked construction of the highway. Land disputes, corruption, abuse of power and a widening gap between rich and poor were among the reasons leading to the number of protests shooting up to 74,000 last year from just 10,000 in 1994, a Hong Kong newspaper reported earlier this month.

The number of protesters involved in those demonstrations jumped to 3.76 million in 2004 from 730,000 a decade earlier, the Beijing-funded Ta Kung Pao newspaper quoted Public Security Minister Zhou Yongkang as telling parliament’s top advisory body.

That’s a big increase in demonstrations. Chalk it up to out-of-control peasant greed.

The Discussion: 9 Comments

Single sparks burn a prairie.

Something needs to be done before everything is out of control.

Look out CCP, even for your own sake. The 0.9 billion peasants are calling for their Mao Zedong.

July 27, 2005 @ 4:55 pm | Comment

To get rich is glorious….unless you’re one of the ones that aren’t getting rich.

Bing, I’ve heard other peasants say just that. They miss the ‘good old days’ when everyone and everything was equal. Nobody had more than anyone else.

That’s a scary thought.

July 27, 2005 @ 7:20 pm | Comment

God forbid they find another Mao Zedong. I don’t think China has really recovered from the last one.

July 27, 2005 @ 9:32 pm | Comment

You’re right, Peter. They don’t need another Mao.

They need Robin of Locksley. Surely one of those sweatshops makes green tights…

July 27, 2005 @ 11:16 pm | Comment

Thomas, good one.

Bing writes:

“The 0.9 billion peasants are calling for their Mao Zedong.”

This is a good comment. I think what this sentence also means is that the peasants are looking something better than this.

Hu/Wen have spotted the glaring inequalities within China (only a blind man could miss it) and they have tentatively pledged to address it but words are cheap and the task is an awesome one.

Because of the very, very clear divide between city-country in China, they is little “trickle-down” effect from full-blown capitalism as evident in other countries.

The CCP’s answer to this is to gradually but quickly move as many people off the land and into urban areas to address the grinding poverty in many areas of the countryside. This, however, creates all sorts of new problems by creating a migrant underclass so evident in todays cities (particlualry 2nd-tier cities).

I don’t know the answer but I do know that I certianly wouldn’t want to be doing Hu or Wen’s job. Tights or no.

July 28, 2005 @ 4:44 am | Comment

Inequality is not necessarily bad. It is a dirving force for growth. The commentator in this site has been overwhelmingly on the left except for Conrad.

The economic policy from the left is too much concerned about equality. It is not good for growth.

I am pro-CCP and a republican, and I really do not see too much conflict.

July 28, 2005 @ 5:55 am | Comment


You say inequality is good for growth. I have two words for you. “Latin America”

Why recall this region? Only to point out that inequality is certainly NOT an engine of growth in and of itself. Sure there is inequality in all societies, and that inequality CAN be useful (for instance, migrant workers in the US do a lot of work that US citizens don’t want to do), but extreme inequality can only lead to problems.

My grandmother was of the few members of the wealthy class in Guatemala. Let me assure you that in a society with wide gulfs between the rich and poor, just by having money, you can produce a lot of animosity among those who have none…even if you don’t flaunt it.

July 28, 2005 @ 9:27 am | Comment

The problem with Latin america is not inequality, but the immobility between classes.

The so-called democracy in Latin america institutionized the inequality. The same with Phillipine. The so-called democary favor mid-class and trap the poor people.

As long as there is mobility between classes, people will tolerate the misery as long as they believe their kids will have a good life with better education.

That partly explain why CCP can hold to its power. Despite so much suffering, Chinese mid-aged people pour all their resources in children education. As long as their kids have a better life, most people will accept the legitimacy of CCP and move on.

July 28, 2005 @ 10:32 am | Comment

The current soaring cost for education will post the biggest threat to China system.

Currently annual national exam will allow kids from all family background to compete on a fairly leveling field. As long as you are smart and working hard, you will have a shot to college educaiton and a good life.

Education ladder works similarly in US despite its high income inequality.

July 28, 2005 @ 10:45 am | Comment

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