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China: Dispossessed farmers beaten

A self-shot video posted anonymously yesterday to 56.com, China's largest video sharing website, is titled:

政府强制整地并殴打群众
群众呼声:开发商强行征地,政府支持,法律何在,天理何在??

The Government Uses Force to Level the Ground and Beats Up a Crowd of People
The crowd shouts: the developer is using force to repropriate the land, the government supports them. Where's the law?Where's the justice??

A bare breast with signs of assault is shown at the end of the video.

The beating seems to have taken place in Zhangsheliangcai Village, Shangdunbo Township, Fuzhou City, Jiangxi Province and against the residents of Village Group 2. A semi-thorough Google search brings up no other accounts of the attack, but a little more Googling brings up an old statement on the local Fuzhou government website which writes that the numbers of evicted Shangdunbo Township farmers in 2001 going to petition first to the provincial capital and from there to Beijing were so high that in 2002 this small city district became one of the ‘top ten key management areas in the province’, that efforts were made to resolve “the conflict” and that from that point on there were no more petitions coming out of Shangdunbo Township.

Coincidentally, 2002 is when whoever posted the video to 56.com claims that their protests no longer had any effect. The government statement, which appears to have run at the time in the Fuzhou Daily newspaper, is dated 2003. A little more Googling turns up another (and there are more) old document also from the Fuzhou City Shangdunbo Township government, this time dated 2004, which calls for interested investors, given, it writes, the government's inability to borrow or raise sufficient funds at the time. A contact name and number is provided there.

Here's the remainder of the text accompanying the video:

简 介: 群众呼声:开发商强行征地,政府支持,法律何在,天理何在??
江西省抚州市临川区上顿渡镇章舍梁曹村第二村民小组。本组地处城郊,共有人口240余人;良田130亩。在2000年临川区行政大楼新建向本村征地80余亩,只付10%征地款,本次征地合同本是从2000年至2002年间有效,然而已经超期5年,合同已无效。其余征地款至今未付,导致本村良田断切水源,无法耕种,全面荒芜、损失惨重,在2007年,区政府又向本村征良田6亩建区间路,每亩征地价格10000元。再次造成本组良田荒芜,无法耕种。遭到本组社员强烈反对。接着,区政府在今年7月20日,早上8点半,带有150余人,在未得到本组法人代表签字的情况下,强行开工。本组找其理论,他们不但不听,抛之脑后,反而出言伤人,殴打百姓。其中有多名百姓受伤、损失惨重,民愤极大。现本组无一寸土地可耕作。造成本组240人生存困难。为了伸张正义,讨回公道,特此呼应各界人士给于大力支持我组民生。望相关政府部门履行职能!

From the villagers of Village Group 2, Zhangsheliangcai Village, Shangdunbo Township, Fuzhou City, Jiangxi Province. This group's land is situated on the outskirts of the city and has a population of just over 240 people, with 130 mu (0.046 sq. miles) of fertile farmland. In 2000 over 80 mu of this village's land was appropriated for the construction of a new Linchuan District Administration Tower and only ten percent of the reappropriation compensation was paid to us. The contract for this reappropriation was written to be valid from 2000 to 2002. Having already been expired for five years, the contract is no longer effective. The remainder of the reappropriation compensation to this day has yet to be paid and this has resulted in the water sources to the farmland having been cut off. Unable to plow the land, it lays barren and the losses to us have been disastrous. This was met with by fierce resistance from the members of this Village Group. Subsequently, at 8 am on July 20, 2007, the district government brought in over 150 people and without having received the signature of this Group's legal representation, forcefully set out to begin construction. This Group sought out their reasoning, but not only did they not listen, after casting reason aside they instead began threatening people with violence, and then began beating the people. Among them many were injured, sustaining heavy injuries, leaving the villagers incredibly furious. Now this Group has not a single inch on which to farm. This makes survival for the 240 people of this Village Group difficult. In hopes of promoting and demanding a return of justice, we hereby call on people from all walks of life to contribute their utmost support to the quality of life of this Group. We hope the related governmental departments will fulfill their duties!

A copy of this video has been saved offline in case it should ever be removed from 56.com.

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