Conflit sur la terre : émeute à Zhaotong 昭通 (Yunnan云南) – novembre 2010

Thousands riot against land seizure in Yunnan province

Friday, 5 November 2010.

A force of 2,000 People’s Armed Police (PAP) used to suppress massive protest by villagers in China’s southwest

A total of 50 vehicles were destroyed, among them ten police cars, according to media reports, as a Yunnan protest against a government land grab turned violent. The violence first flared on Tuesday 2 November as villagers sought to stop officials and construction workers entering the disputed area where construction work on a new highway was about to start. Around 2,000 paramilitary and riot police were eventually sent to the area to re-establish control as numbers in the protest swelled to a reported 10,000.

Television footage showed hundreds of villagers in Zhaotong city, in the northeast of Yunnan province, armed with shovels and sticks, clashing with construction workers and police. The villagers insist the local government’s actions are illegal, that the land grab violates central government regulations on compensation levels and provision of temporary housing. “Our livelihoods suffered a serious blow, and there were no safeguards,” one villager with the surname Sun told Radio Free Asia.

Rumours are circulating that local government officials profited by more than 1.7 billion yuan (US$250 million) by re-selling land acquired from the villagers at a sky-high premium. A villager from Fenghuang told the South China Morning Post (5 November) that the Zhaoyang district government had forcibly requisitioned 1,300 mu (195 hectares) of farmland from Fenghuang and the nearby village of Mulu. The government had paid local residents 70,000 yuan per mu, claiming the land was needed for a road project. But the road project required only 250 mu of land, with more than 100 mu of the requisitioned land sold to a Chongqing based property conglomerate for a reported price of 1.7 million yuan per mu. Villagers suspect officials have embezzled the proceeds from the sale.

Protesting residents initially outnumbered local police. Hired security guards escorting the officials and construction workers are accused of started the violence: “The fight did not start until Liu Guanhong, a 30-year-old villager, was punched and kicked by guards when they spotted him taking pictures of their abuse of villagers,” reported the South China Morning Post. Twenty people were injured including ten policemen, according to official media. Authorities in Yunnan have announced they are launching an investigation into the incident.

Land protests rising

Thousands of land-related protests occur every month in China. Qiu Feng, editor of the Defending Rights [in] China website (, said evictions and land protests are on the rise across China, as people begin to realise that the law offers them little protection when dealing with powerful local officials. “Most of the time, land acquisitions go ahead without the need for consent from local people,” he said.

Land sales are the most important source of revenue for China’s local and regional governments. The frenzied construction boom of recent years, which especially since 2008 has been driven by a flood of state-backed loans, has encouraged local governments to push up land prices using various infrastructure projects, industrial zones and deals with property developers. Rising land prices then further boost government coffers. But the losers in this process are poor farmers who are driven from the land, as well as the majority of ordinary citizens who can no longer afford a home at today’s inflated prices. Cases of local governments acting illegally, using strong-arm methods, and breaking compensation rules are legion across China.

Land Protests in Yunnan


Residents clash with authorities over inadequate compensation.

Thousands of people rioted in the streets of Zhaotong city on Nov. 2, 2010.

HONG KONG—Authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan said they are launching an investigation after violent clashes between police and local residents blocking construction of a new highway.

Official media reports said thousands of people rioted in the streets of Zhaotong city Nov. 2, throwing rocks at security personnel and burning vehicles.

« Everything has quietened down now, » an official surnamed Liu in a local government office in Yunnan’s Zhaotong city said Nov. 3.

He said the incident was now being investigated by a local task force.

They are still dealing with it, and we will hold a news conference when there is some information, » said the official from Zhaoyang district, where the clashes took place.

Liu said 10 police officers were injured during the clashes, and that three police vehicles had been set alight by protesters.

Work had restarted at the construction site of the new highway, local residents and officials said.

Inadequate compensation

The clashes began on Tuesday at 1 p.m. local time when workers showed up to begin work on the highway, construction of which was announced by the government in April, local residents said.

« It was all because the level of compensation paid for the land was too low, » said a local resident surnamed Sun. « It was unreasonable. »

He said the authorities grabbed the land without villagers’ consent to the compensation arrangements.

« Our livelihoods suffered a serious blow, and there were no safeguards, » Sun added.

A second resident of Zhaoyang district said the clashes had taken place in his neighborhood.

« It was because of land … something about unreasonable levels of compensation, » he said.

An officer who answered the phone at the local police station declined to give details.

« All of this is being taken care of by our local leaders, » he said. « They know what is going on, and they are dealing with it now. »

According to the Economic Observer website, construction on the highway site was blocked on Tuesday by around 200 local residents carrying sickles and hoes.

In the resulting clashes, rioters destroyed 48 vehicles, 14 of them by burning, and 23 construction workers sustained injuries of various kinds.

Protests on the rise

Qiu Feng, editor of the Defending Rights [in] China website (, said that evictions and land protests are on the rise across China, as people begin to realize that the law offers them little protection when dealing with powerful local officials.

« There seems to be no one in the judiciary who will protect the interests of the ordinary people, » Qiu said.

« Most of the time, land acquisitions go ahead without the need for consent from local people. »

And Yang Lili, editor of the U.S.-based Observe China website, said that authorities have tried to keep the lid on news of eviction clashes.

« There have been more and more of this sort of incident in the past couple of years, » Yang said. « They have continued to control what people can say about it. »

« There is no other way, no other place, for them to vent their anger … If they use legal channels, such as petitioning, they will be locked up and escorted home. »

« It is inevitable that people are now beginning to resort to acts of extreme violence, » Yang said.

Land acquisition for development, often resulting in lucrative property deals for local officials, sparks thousands of protests by local communities across China every month, many of which escalate into clashes with police.

Many petitioners who use official channels to complain—often over loss of land, poor compensation, or forced eviction from their homes—are escorted back home, where they can face beatings, surveillance, and further detention.

eported in Cantonese by Fung Yat-yiu, and in Mandarin by He Ping. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.

Police cars torched in China land protest: report


Thu Nov 4, 2010 4:

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Rampaging villagers in southwestern China overturned and torched dozens of vehicles in a mass protest over what they say is an illegal land grab for a construction project, Chinese media reported on Thursday.

Thu, Nov 04, 2010

HONG KONG – A mass riot in southwestern China left dozens injured after angry villagers took to the streets in protest against a road construction project, Hong Kong media reported Thursday.


2010-11-05 11:36:20


新华社消息 112日下午,云南省昭通市昭阳区一施工现场发生一起多辆车被烧毁打砸、多人受伤的事件。3日下午,昭阳区就此事件举行通报会。

通报称,今年以来,昭阳区启动连接昭阳城区和GZ40线的南通道建设。927日上午,母鹿社区第六居民小组一社员和供料方现场负责人因纠纷发生斗 殴,导致南通道施工受阻。928日下午,母鹿社区第六、第七居民小组部分群众到南通道施工现场阻碍施工。930日,以凤凰社区第三居民小组为主的部分 群众也加入到阻碍施工的人员中。

通报称,21330分左右,有关领导指挥工作人员进入施工现场准备维持秩序。当时,现场已经聚集凤凰办事处凤凰社区第三居民小组 50余人及围观群众200余人。正准备做群众工作时,30余人手持锄头、镰刀、钉耙等农具开始追打工作人员,并打砸、焚烧现场车辆2辆。事件造成20余人 不同程度受伤,其中留院观察治疗15人,未出现伤重致死现象。在组织撤离过程中,参与打砸烧的闹事人员又烧毁车辆11辆,不同程度损毁车辆18辆。

通报称,事件发生后,成立了事件领导组,制定了应急预案,并快速组织撤离工作人员,防止矛盾进一步激化,并将受伤人员及时送至医院治疗。昭通市成立 工作组处置此事件。目前,事态已得到一定控制,各项工作正在进行中。(关桂峰)


Zhaotong (昭通 ; pinyin : Zhāotōng) est une ville du nord-est de la province du Yunnan en Chine. La population de sa juridiction est d’environ 7 millions d’habitants

~ par Alain Bertho sur 5 novembre 2010.

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