China: A silent protest

Problems seem to keep coming for residents of Huacao township in the outskirts of Shanghai's Minxing district. Reports in mainland media from over two years ago [zh] show that after years of anticipation, villagers had still yet to be compensated for the sale of their land, despite the local government leaders’ claims to the otherwise.

Following that, an open letter to the Huacao township government leaders was posted on a Shanghai bulletin board website [zh] earlier this fall outlining villagers’ concerns about a planned highway expansion project into their farmland. Demands are made in the letter first for more information as to which departments and government officials are involved in the project, for preservation of the village farmland, as well as conditions regarding compensation.

Then late last month Hong Kong's Sun Daily newspaper reported that villagers in Huacao had taken their actions a step further, a report that can be found on several bbs forums and overseas Chinese language news websites, most of which are inaccessible from the mainland, and the CNnews MSN Spaces blog [zh], which can be viewed without a proxy.

Judging from a Baidu and Google search of the first line from the news report, the story has not yet appeared in mainland Chinese media—or in English—although part of it was reposted on the CNnews MSN Spaces blog:


Shanghai Villagers Block Road in Protest
Hong Kong's Sun Daily newspaper reports disturbances in recent days in Huacao township nearby Shanghai's Hongqiao airport. Villagers from many villages, unsatisfied with undercompensation from authorities, have launched multiple attacks on village committee offices and blocked major roads. Police have arrested many villagers, but as of yesterday others continued a silent protest at the the village committee office.

Baidu and Google image searches for the name of the village fail to produce any photos of a demonstration, with the same results at citizen photojournalist site, YouTube and ten of its mainland Chinese counterparts.


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