{[ promptMessage ]}

Bookmark it

{[ promptMessage ]}

yardley_farmers_moved - WARNING CONCERNING COPYRIGHT...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–6. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 1

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
Image of page 3

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 4
Image of page 5

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 6
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: WARNING CONCERNING COPYRIGHT RESTRICTIONS: The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproduction of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research. If electronic transmission of reserve material is used for purposes in excess of what constitutes “fair use”, that user may be liable for copyright infringement. Farmers Being Moved Aside By China Real Estate Boom By JIM YARDLEY SANCHAWAN, China —- For five months, Gao Lading and oth- er angry farmers had occupied the walled compound of the Com- munist Party’s village office. They had pitched tents, eaten rice and sweet potatoes, and waited. It was a sit—in born of despera— tion. Officials from the nearby city of Yulin had seized land that had been part of the village since imperial times. The farmers had protested for nearly two years be- fore finally seizing the village government’s seat of power. Early on Oct. 4, the government struck back. Witnesses say truck- loads of paramilitary police sur- rounded the sleeping village. Hun- dreds of people inside the office compound were injured as the po- lice fired tear gas and rubber bul- lets. Women were attacked with cattle prods. Farmers sleeping nearby were beaten in their beds. “They pinned them to the bed, put handcuffs on them and dragged them away," said a wom- an whose husband was among the 29 people arrested. In real estate terms, the crack— down amounted to closing day. Like other land transactions in rural China, negotiations had been one-sided: Yulin officials, citing an obscure legal clause, or- dered farmers to leave and of- fered them $60 per parcel of land. The farmers had screamed rob- bery. THE GREAT DIVIDE Suddenly Landless But farmers in China cannot be robbed of land because they are not allowed to own it. The same economic reforms that have made China the world's fastest growing economy have created a two—tiered property system that favors city dwellers while handi- capping the farmers once at the core of this society. One result is that a booming, private real estate market has emerged in cities, where resi- dents can now buy and sell apart— ments or suburban villas as in- vestments toward joining the fledgling urban middle class. Farmers still fall under a village collective system that forbids them to own, buy or sell the land they till — and that often leaves them powerless to keep it. The Sanchawan case is one ex— ample among thousands in which city officials pushing lucrative de- velopment projects have confis— cated rural land by guile, fiat or force. Experts estimate that as many as 70 million farmers have lost their land in the past decade — a number expected to rise above 100 million. “If the government wants to take land, it can take it more or Continued on Page All) h—_——_—-———_———_——_——_—_———_ A10 '«T THE NEW YORK TIMES INTERNATIONAL WEDNESDAI Economic development zones like this one in Yulin, China, are chewing up farmland. Experts say that as many as 70 million farmers have It Farmers Being Moved Aside by China’s Boomii Continued From Page A1 less at will,” said Qin Hui, a history profes- sor at Qinghua University in Beijing and a leading authority on rural China. He added, “Farmers often not only haven’t benefited from the process of urbanization, theyare losing out because of it.” Urban residents have not been immune to land seizures. Older sections of Shanghai, Beijing and other cities have fallen to wrecking balls to make way for new devel- opment. Residents are often poorly compen- sated and relocated to less convenient apartments. But displaced farmers often lose their very livelihood. They have little chance of finding other land and face daunting obsta- cles to creating a stable new life in cities. Losing their land also deprives them of a so- cial safety net in a country without one. A farmer with land can at least eat. Riots and protests over land seizures and inadequate compensation have erupted across China for much of this year. Land seizures became so rampant that central government officials became alarmed that the loss of arable land threatened China’s ability to feed itself. They ordered a tempo- rary freeze on the economic development zones chewing up farmland and promised to reform the land system. Here in the badlands of northern Shaanxi Province, the arid, desolate landscape holds a mythic place in Communist Party lore and has long been fertile ground for peasant an- ger and revolt. This is the bleak terrain where Mao Zedong found refuge from pur- suing Nationalist troops in the 1930’s, rebuilt his Red Army for eventual victory, and in- stituted a crucial political promise of his revolution — redistributing land from land- ; a r_=—..___., .4,- 0 Miles 40 7 5-1 Yellow : . ’ SHAANXI '5 River‘- INNER , MONGOLIA ,' Jyf‘X—i GREAT WALL sand from blowing down the gully and cov- ering the river and the fields below.” Since the early years of Communist rule, farmers said, the Xisha land was under the collective control of the village and had at- tracted little interest from Yulin officials. But once plans for the development zone were drawn up, villagers said officials cited an obscure 1951 clause in the country’s murky property statutes and laid claim to the land. The compensation offer of $60 per mu, or about one-sixth of an acre, infuriated farm— ers when theyy’learned that the land was be— ing leased to developers for 50 times that amount, or more. “Officials took the land for development and have been pocketing all the money for themselves,” said an old farmer surnamed Zhou who was tilling a field outside the vil— lage. The brazenness of this kind of land grab is not uncommon in rural China. In one village in wealthy Zhejiang Province, farmers were given $3,040 per mu, only to watch city offiv . cials lease the same plots to developers for $122,000 each. And experts say farmers often get only a fraction of the compensation they are promised because village officials siphon off the rest. In Sanchawan, the village head, Gao Guoqing, initially opposed the seizure but then switched his support to Yulin officials. Villagers say he is now a construction boss at the development zone and a member of one of its oversight boards. “Scams are commonplace,” said Sally Sargeson, a senior lecturer at the University of Nottingham who specialized in Chinese property rights. “In most cases, farmers don’t get what they deserve.” The Sanchawan farmers decided their only recourse was to protest. In December 2002, nearly 800 people blocked construction on the Xisha land, according to interviews and petitions. Villagers organized 16 teams of protesters that alternated sit-ins. The pro- tests continued into the spring of 2003, often lnrl hu nlrlnrlv wnmpn because the men need Liu Zhandou, left, took up the farmers’ cause, Junping, right, returned to their land last month like this? I want justice." So did his fellow villagers in Sanchawan. But they needed someone willing to fight for them. They found him in a cave. Petitioning the Government Liu Zhandou, 57, is an old unreconstructed Maoist whose fervor led him to change his name during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960’s. He took the given name Zhandou, which means struggle. He lives about four hours east of Yulin, in a traditional cave dwelling. He and his wife stack potatoes in- side for winter and share a heated brick bed, called a kang. They have a small, battered television with an antenna that they keep protected inside a red velour cover. Mr. Liu, a farmer, grows dates that he sells once a year in the provincial capital, fir ca it i 0 Miles 40 / Yellow . , SHAANXI SS“ Riva"?f ' My“: GREAT 11“ . WALL ram 5,. (6‘; I’\Sanchawan , lNNER MONGOLIA, ' . . _ _ —YuxiFl/‘ver ‘ {I XISHA »“‘— MONGOLIA , SHANXI NORTH KOREA ,- Beijing ‘ Area of .‘ ' detail ‘5 v. SHAIANXI o\ r' ‘ ., . A , i l g\ OCHINAV Yangtze River I _ _ Yellow ”Xian 1, ' ’ : o * r._.—..'_L__L.', , 0 Miles sou ‘ « The New York Times The Chinese police attacked protesting farmers in Sanchawan in October. lords to peasants. The Oct. 4 clash here, which Chinese news media have been banned from reporting, clearly terrified villagers. During three vis- its in October and November, the village re- mained under tight watch by officials and undercover police officers. Most of the more than 30 villagers interviewed for this story were willing to be identified only by their surname. It was a stark change for a village that had been defiant, even brazen, in confront— ing the government. Interviews, govern- ment documents and petitions from the jailed protesters show that a core group of farmers repeatedly protested and staged sit-ins. Some, like Gao Lading, a hot-tem- pered leader, traveled to Beijing seeking help. They were fighting for 1,670 acres of sandy, desolate soil. “For thousands of years, the relationship between farmers and their land has been a thick as blood,” villagers wrote in one peti- tion to Beijing officials, ”as close fitting as lips and teeth.” A Seduction of Riches For years, Sanchawan prospered from its position on the banks of the Yuxi River, less than 10 miles from the produce markets in Yulin. But then discoveries of natural gas, coal and oil prompted local boosters to begin describing Yulin as “China’s Kuwait.“ Yulin became a hub in a major pipeline project moving natural gas from western China to Shanghai. In March 2002, former President Jiang Zemin visited to urge faster develop- ment. City officials were already ahead of him. They were planning a new economic de- velopment zone on the high bluffs across the river from Sanchawan. Generations of vil- lagers had worked the land, known locally as Xisha, or western sand. Some farmers ir- rigated the land and grew corn or cabbage. But most planted saplings as a buffer to pro- tect their fields across the river from the nearby Gobi desert. “We‘ve been taking care of that land for decades,” said Gao Qinglai, a elderly wom- an in the village. “Planting trees there pro- videsa bit of firewood, but it also stops the AVVM, “you )1 vvv ryuru, Only“-.. --‘.~_- .._.4. on the Xisha land, according to interviews and petitions. Villagers organized 16 teams of protesters that alternated sit-ins. The pro- tests continued into the spring of 2003, often led by elderly women because the men need- ed to work. By April 27, Yulin officials had lost pa- tience. The protests were causing work de- lays on the development zone. So, villagers say, police officers and more than 300 con- struction workers surrounded the women as a district official harangued them through a megaphone. “You’re crazy!” shouted the official, Ji Shengrong, according to an account later drafted by villagers. “Your heads are filled with sand." One woman threatened to complain to higher authorities in Beijing. ‘ “So you dirt-poor trash think you can op- pose the city government?" Mr. Ji scoffed. “You don’t have a chance in hell.” The police then began dragging protest- ers to jail. When relatives from Sanchawan tried to come to their aid, the police blocked roads and bridges leading to the site. Officials in the Yulin mayor's office and other city agencies refused interview re- quests and said they would not discuss the land confiscation. One official who declined to be identified said villagers were gener- ously compensated. Zhang Baohua might disagree. Mr. Zhang, 40, was not at the Xisha site during the protest but was later picked up by the police at the village. He later wrote an affi- davit describing four days of interrogations in which he was repeatedly beaten and kicked. Pressured to name the protest lead- ers, he repeated that he knew nothing and did not understand why he was being de- tained. “Even if you beat me to death today, I still wouldn't know anything,“ Mr. Zhang said af- ter a third day of beatings, according to his affidavit. He was finally released and spent the next four weeks recovering in bed. “I‘m an inno- cent member of the masses," he wrote. “Why did Public Security want to torture me called a kang. They have a small, battered television with an antenna that they keep protected inside a red velour cover. Mr. Liu, a farmer, grows dates that he sells once a year in the provincial capital, Xian. He earned a populist reputation across northern Shaanxi Province after leading a tax revolt in the late 1990's against local officials. He even won a seat in his township’s people's congress, without the endorsement of the CommunistParty. In June 2003, Mr. Liu met with Sanchawan farmers and took up their cause. He has no legal training, though his high school educa- tion puts him above most farmers. He still wears a Mao button on his jacket and says local governments that seize land are no dif- ferent from the corrupt landlords and offi- cials of the Nationalist government in the pre-Communist era. ' “It was so flagrant,” he said of the seizure of the Xisha land. “They bought the land so cheaply and sold out for such a high price. They also violated the lawful rights of the farmers.” Mr. Liu told the farmers they had no chance in Yulin. They needed to go to Bei- jing. It is the path followed by hundreds of thousands of desperate peasants every year. They carry receipts, legal rulings or medical records —- any paper trail to prove they were wronged. Mr. Liu went twice with small groups of Sanchawan farmers, first in October 2003 to visit government petition offices. The peti- tion system traces its roots to China’s impe- rial past, when it held out the promise of an audience with the central bureaucracy. Now it is the main official channel for popular dissent in China’s authoritarian political system. Mr. Liu helped the farmers assemble doc— uments and draft petitions. Most of the older farmers had no more than a few years of schooling. Some signed official papers with thumbprints. One resourceful farmer nar- rated a CD-ROM that was presented with the petitions. , The October trip felt like a success at first. Petition offici case was being revie it turned out. “They sent it bac and nothing happene officials claimed notl It had been an exel The Sanchawan far! other petitioners ew officials usually turn same local officials them. A recent study cent of petitioners re Even so, Mr. Liu December, this time Mr. Gao, 63, had bi member for decade: had enemies in San quick temper. But 1 him a natural protes “He just couldn’t 5 taking advantage of of Mr. Gao. “He says Mr. Gao's impatie tition he helped writ lagers are now as a stove,” the petition too great. If the cei solve our problems jing, more than 1,00 Beijing.” Mr. Liu and Mr. ( of Land Resources i the petition directly guard instructed th. mail. A bit naively, thl might work. At th what they considei clerk who had once ince recognized the hand their petition jing’s biggest petitii Mr. Liu and Mr peasants for centut ing an official audi postal clerk. Eventually a le clerk. He wrote tha' By JIM YARDLEY Even today, farmers in China have few property rights. Twenty-five years ago, Deng Xiaoping unleashed the second big Chinese revolu- tion by dissolving the communes and al- lowing farming households to keep the profits from anything they produced be- yond state-set quotas. Farmers were granted leases, not ownership, to the land they worked. But the shift to household- based farming brought an immediate rise in rural incomes. At the time, it meant farmers were the first beneficiaries of eco- nomic reform in China. By the 1990’s, land reform focused on ur- ban areas and granted city dwellers great- er rights than farmers. Technically, the government maintained ownership of ur- ban land as well. But a private real estate market was created for nearly everything built on that land. This set off a develop- ment boom that has raised fears of a bub- ble but made home ownership an essential investment for many urban residents. Farmers have been excluded, unable to own their own land or to buy in cities. Urban expansion has made outlying farmland an inviting target for city gov- ernments. Cities like Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou have grown by annexing huge swaths of land. Smaller cities in every cor- ner of the country have done the same. In some cases, particularly‘in wealthier coastal provinces, farming villages have managed to negotiate fair compensation for confiscated land. Some have even transformed themselves into “urban vil- lages” that rent land for profit. But more often, farmers have been exploited and even terrorized. in October, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao announced administrative reforms to in- sure fairer compensation for farmers who lose land and to also make local govern- ments more accountable to Beijing on land transactions. This year, the central gov- ernment is already paying farmers direct subsidies to expand grain production. And A Chinese History of Dispossession and Exploi Mr. Wen has ordered of farm taxes. But the long-term changes is unclear. The new land poliu forms that were also legal land seizures. A economic developmu November and alre: cal governments are land gr abs. More sig forms do not addre: sue of rural land owr The elimination 0: pressure on local go er sources of rever been to seize rural projects that generz study found that go‘ more than 10 time transaction fees as f Farmers, then, at taxes. But millions ( land in the process. THE NEW YORK TIMES INTERNATIONAL WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 8,2004 Photographs by Du Bin for The New York Times 'ing up farmland. Experts say that as many as 70 million farmers have lost their land in the past decade — a number expected to rise above 100 million. Aside by China’s Booming Market in Real Estate 1 the gully and cov- elds below.” of Communist rule, land was under the village and had at- ‘om Yulin officials. development zone 3 said officials cited 3 in the country’s s and laid claim to er of $60 per mu, or re, infuriated farm- iat the land was be- s for 50 times that id for development g all the money for j farmer surnamed :‘ield outside the vil- : kind of land grab is Ihina. In one village Vince, farmers were y to watch city offi- ts to developers for perts say farmers of the compensation use village officials village head, Gao ied the seizure but rt to Yulin officials a construction boss 3 and a member of is. :place,” said Sally er at the University cialized in Chinese )st cases, farmers ve.” iers decided their )test. In December ocked construction 'ding to interviews >rganized 16 teams ted sit—ins. The pro— pring of 2003, often ause the men need— ‘ifi’. 3: Liu Zhandou, left, took up the farmers’ cause, helping them draft petitions. Prompted by government threats, farmers like Wan Junping, right, returned to their land last month. Many farmers had refused to plant in protest of the government’s land seizures. like this? I want justice.” So did his fellow villagers in Sanchawan. But they needed someone willing to fight for them. They found him in a cave. Petitioning the Government Liu Zhandou, 57, is an old unreconstructed Maoist whose fervor led him to change his name during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960’s. He took the given name Zhandou, which means struggle. He lives about four hours east of Yulin, in a traditional cave dwelling. He and his wife stack potatoes in- side for winter and share a heated brick bed, called a kang. They have a small, battered television with an antenna that they keep protected inside a red velour cover. Mr. Liu, a farmer, grows dates that he sells once a year in the provincial capital, The Great Divide Articles in this series are examining the widening gap between the rural poor and urban rich that has made China, the world’s fastest-growing economy, als...
View Full Document

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern