An unstoppable lust for pears has resulted in seven people being detained and losses of 300,000 RMB (46,950 USD) at a farm in Gaoyang county, Henan. The Dawu Agricultural and Livestock Group stated on its official website that this week that hundreds villagers looted a 20-hectare pear garden for three days before authorities could stop them.
Sun Dawu, supervisory chairman of the fruit company, said the villagers trampled over the pear garden employees who tried to protect the orchard and tore down sections of the perimeter walls. CCTV News said that company vice president Sun Zhihua told investigators from the local government that it offered wholesale prices to the villagers, but they always wanted more.
“We offer them wholesale prices when they come, but some of them want more for free. When we refused, conflicts broke out and they called more villagers to break in.”
The local government’s investigations into the company are disputed by the villagers who told journalists the company plans to build livestock farms on disputed land. The company had plans to instate a chicken farm last year, but protests from the villagers brought the plans to a halt. The raid on the pear garden was a ‘revenge attack’ for the threat posed by the company on the villagers’ land rights, they said.
Chinese commenters pointed the finger at a number of problems. Some said poverty was to blame, as wealth from the land had not been distributed to the villagers. Another thought the authorities had been too lenient in punishing only seven of the villagers, but there were also those who blamed the law itself for having too many loopholes that can be exploited by Chinese companies.
Another company in Sichuan lost 80,000 RMB worth of pears just two weeks ago when villagers looted an overturned truck carrying 20 tonnes of the fruit. Many pears have been liberated this harvest time.
by Daniel Cunningham