Beijing, Monday: To mark the start of the 11th National People’s Congress (NPC) China’s premier Wen Jiabao repeats his stance that farmers’ right to land “must not be violated” a day after elections in Wukan village – increasingly a symbol of resistance against official land grabs.
Also – see the Wall Street Journal – Rebel Village Vote: No Big Deal?(March 5, 2012) –
“A lot of people believe that the resolution of the problem at Wukan was the opening of a new channel and a foreshadowing of political reform,” he said. “But the elections were held according to the organization rules of the village and the election regulations of Guangdong province. There was nothing new about this,” Guangdong Provincial party chief Wang Yang.
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Farmers’ rights to land ‘must not be violated’: China’s Wen
Source – AsiaOne, published March 5, 2012
BEIJING – Farmers’ rights to their land “must not be violated”, China’s premier told parliament on Monday, a day after elections in Wukan village, a symbol of resistance against official land grabs.
Government seizures of land have become a major source of discontent in China, and sparked a major revolt last December in Wukan, where residents said Communist officials had been seizing their land for decades.
In a speech to mark the opening of China’s National People’s Congress, Premier Wen Jiabao said farmers’ rights must be protected.
“Farmers’ rights to the land they contract to work on, to the land on which their houses sit, and to proceeds from collective undertakings, are property rights conferred by law, and these rights must not be violated by anyone,” he said.
Land grabs cause more than 65 percent of rural China’s “mass incidents” – the one-party government’s euphemism for large protests – according to official think tank the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
In Wukan, in the southern province of Guangdong, the simmering anger led to bold protests and the overthrow of leaders residents said had run the village like “local emperors”, stealing their land for years.
The protest attracted worldwide attention and a rare climb-down by provincial officials, including a pledge that the land seizures would be investigated and elections held.
On Saturday, villagers took part in a contested election for the first time to choose a seven-member committee to represent them.