Violent forced evictions in China are on the rise as local authorities seek to offset huge debts by seizing and then selling off land in suspect deals with property developers, Amnesty International said as it urged government action.
“The Chinese authorities must immediately halt all forced evictions. There needs to be an end to the political incentives, tax gains and career advancements that encourage local officials to continue with such illegal practices,” said Nicola Duckworth, Senior Director of Research at Amnesty International.
Almost 25% of forced evictions examined by Amnesty resulted in the deaths of people protesting or resisting eviction. In one case, a 70-year-old woman was buried alive by an excavator in Wuhan.
Local governments and property developers frequently hire thugs wielding steel rods and knives to rough up residents. Housing rights activists, lawyers and academics in China confirmed Amnesty International’s finding that the police hardly ever investigate such crimes.
One violent example occurred on 18 April 2011 when a few hundred men entered Lichang village in Jiangsu Province and attacked farmers to force them off their land. About 20 women from the village were dragged away and beaten.
Those who resist forced evictions are often arrested and sent to re-education through labour camps.
Amnesty International collected reports of 41 cases of self-immolation from 2009 – 2011 alone due to forced evictions. That compares to fewer than 10 cases reported in the entire previous decade.
Read the full report.