News / Asia

Rights Group Notes Dramatic Rise in China's Forced Evictions

Huang Sufang (C) attempts to protect her home as workers move in for demolition orders in Yangji village, Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong province on March 21, 2012.
Huang Sufang (C) attempts to protect her home as workers move in for demolition orders in Yangji village, Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong province on March 21, 2012.
Shannon Sant
— Land seizures in China are becoming the greatest source of public dissent spurring social unrest in many parts of the country, according to rights watchdog Amnesty International.

Amnesty International says acceleration in forced evictions and land grabbing is largely due to growing pressure on provincial and city governments to stimulate the economy. 

“Forced evictions are currently the biggest source of public discontent in China today,” said Nicola Duckworth, who authored the Amnesty report.

Stimulus

A report claims China’s efforts to boost its flagging economy have forced local governments to borrow large sums of money from state banks to finance stimulus projects. To pay back their debts the local governments have increasingly turned to land sales, cashing in on China’s real estate boom and forcing half of China’s rural residents to leave their homes.

Changes to China’s tax system in the mid-1990s have also required local governments to give the majority of tax revenue to Beijing and left local officials searching for other sources of money. 

In 2009, the total income from land sales was $223 billion, a 50 percent increase from the year before.

Criticism

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei criticized Amnesty International for its report.

He said Amnesty International has always been prejudiced against China and that its report has no credibility. Hong Lei also pointed out regulations put in place by the State Council on January 19 of last year protecting the rights of landowners in China.
Following several self immolations in protest of land seizures, the China State Council banned the use of violence in home evictions and granted residents increased protections. 

But the rights group says these policy changes only cover urban residents, and leave people in the countryside, the main victims of land seizures, unprotected.

Redress

Lawyer Wang Cailiang, who defends victims of land seizures, says lack of an independent judicial authority also leaves residents with limited opportunities for redress.

Wang says it is a scary situation for many protesting seizures of the land because the judicial branch is a department of the government.

Local officials’ promotions in the Communist Party are often dependent on how effective they are at boosting the local economy. China is expected to unveil more stimulus measures in the months ahead, potentially increasing the problem of land seizures in the countryside. 

 

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid