The Current

China's government land grabs fuel unrest with farmers, villagers

China's economic growth is at its slowest in 25 years. And if the engine of Chinese growth is running out of gas, it's only after an unprecedented run of urbanization. It comes at a high price for villagers who say their lands are regularly seized to make way for growth.
A villager looks out from banners with signatures of those who support a protest in Lufeng, a city of 1.7 million, in the southern Chinese Guangdong province September 23, 2011. Hundreds of villagers in southern China protested over a government seizure of land. (Staff/Reuters )

Of the more than 100,000 protests tracked by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in 2013 — two thirds of them were over land disputes. 

In April 2015, residents of Tianmu turned up every day at the village square to shout their complaints at local officials.

And for the past five or six years, protests such as these have been an increasingly regular sight and sound across the country. Local officials are accused of seizing their land, then selling it to developers without compensating the people they've displaced.

Guests in this segment:

Jianping Lu lives in Annan village in Haimen City, about two hours north of Shanghai, just off the coast of the East China Sea. He says local officials there have been seizing the villagers' land without sharing the profits.

The Current spoke with Jianping Lu in translation but you can listen to his interview in Mandarin.

China's government is seizing land from property owners and planting the seeds of unrest. We speak to Jianping Lu who lives in Annan village in Haimen City in Eastern China. Here is our interview in Mandarin, without translation. 11:41

Daisy Xiong is a freelance journalist in Vancouver who worked with The Current on this story. 

David Bandurski has chronicled the efforts of many Chinese villagers facing battles similar to Jianping Lu's. He is the editor of the China Media Project at Hong Kong University and the author of Dragons in Diamond Village and Other Tales from the Back Alleys of Urbanizing China.

This segment was produced by The Current's Gord Westmacott.

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during the opening ceremony of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in Beijing, China, January 16, 2016. (Mark Schiefelbein/Pool/Reuters)

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