Saturday, 22 November 2008
The largest riot in recent years broke out in Longnan City, in Northwest China’s Gansu Province, over a government-backed eviction project and unsatisfactory compensation to residents.
Sources say that in recent months, news about the Longnan City government moving its municipality’s administrative center from the Wudu District to Cheng County triggered worries and discontent among residents in the Wudu District. Those who are especially concerned include farmers whose land will be seized by the government but who have not been relocated or given compensation and residents who will be forcefully evicted from their homes, as well as land developers. Tens of thousands of residents made two attempts to attack the Communist Party Office in Longnan City, from late on Nov. 18 until early the next day. The crowd eventually grew to 50,000 people.
The authorities dispatched armed police to suppress the riots. Over 100 farmers were injured, with several dozen severely wounded. Some witnesses said that about two dozen farmers died in the clashes. The police successfully broke up the crowd at around 2 a.m. on Nov. 19. However, the violence of the police further angered the farmers. A huge crowd of farmers again went to the Communist Party Office at around 9 a.m. on Nov. 19 to demand an official response. The authorities, however, again responded with large-scale suppression against the sizable crowd of farmers and bystanders.
After the riot broke out, the state-controlled press only briefly and casually reported the incident and blamed the riot on the appellants.