After discovering that officials were attempting to sell their territory in an illegal land seizure, residents of Chiyou village, Hunan province, drafted a ‘death pact’ vowing to support one another over the coming months. Nearly 100 villagers ratified the pact, and pledged to stand up against “mafia-style techniques” that they allege could be used against them if the local authorities attempt to seize their land.
The pact commits its members to providing burials for anyone killed while resisting the land grab, and also promises to pay for medical or legal fees of those in need. The Telegraph reports:
“If they come and try to take our land, we will defend it with our lives,” Liu Jinbao, a village representative and one of the document’s signatories told The Daily Telegraph.
“We have been told that if we try to fight for the land they might employ some mafia-style techniques and beat us up. So we have signed the document, to present a more united front.” […]
Mr Liu said his village’s troubles had started earlier this month when members of a local farming cooperative “illegally” agreed to sell the rights to around 35 square feet of land to a third party for around £74,000.
Local farmers could not afford to lose their land, Mr Liu complained.
“We need our irrigation land. We need the land for food. We can’t afford to eat now that the grain price is so high.” Villagers hoped their situation could be resolved peacefully through petitioning the government but they anticipated violence, Mr Liu said.