Protests Against Land Seizures in Lufeng

In southern China, protesters attacked government buildings in protest against the sale of land collectively owned. Incidents in Lufeng, in which ten people were injured, were triggered by the seizure of hectares of land and selling real estate developer Country Garden for one billion yuan according to the SCMP.

Local authorities indicate on their side in a statement that the rioters attacked a police station after hearing that police had killed a child: a rumor, according to the official. “Some villagers who have ulterior motives have spread rumors about the murder of a child by police, prompting some residents to attack the position of the border police,” explained local authorities, adding that ten policemen were injured. The official talks about 200 protesters, but according to a local businessman quoted in the SCMP, the demonstrators were several thousand.

These disorders in Lufeng, coastal city of 1.7 million inhabitants, is the latest sign of popular anger against the land seizures. As is the case in rural areas, urban land is state property. Land seizures are usually through private companies linked to the state, but with the blessing of local authorities.

The violent protests are increasing in heavily industrialized Guangdong province, staffed by tens of millions of migrant workers, coming from the poorest provinces of the interior. In June, hundreds of people clashed with police after the attack against a worker claiming a backlog of salary. Also in June, many migrants took to the streets of Xintang after unverified reports that police have killed a street vendor and beating his pregnant wife.

The municipality of Lufeng was not contacted by phone Friday, but according to blogs in the region, the army encircled the city and blocked access roads. “All roads leading to our village were blocked and are guarded by the army,” says a message posted on Weibo.