Villagers burn construction site, clash with police in land protest

Seven people were injured when more than 10 villagers set fire to a construction site in Emei Mountain scenic zone in southwest China's Sichuan Province to protest at the forced demolition of their homes.

The villagers carried gasoline to the construction site for a government resort complex, threatening workers to down tools, Emeishan City government said. They set fire to materials and attacked local government officials and police officers, resulting in seven injured people. The injured were immediately sent to a local hospital, the government said.

The dispute occurred in Baoning Village of Emeishan City's Eshan Town, which has benefited from tourism on Emei Mountain.

According to a city plan in 2001, more than 1,100 houses in five towns including Baoning Village will be demolished to build a tourism project between Emei Mountain and the Giant Stone Buddha at Leshan, in Sichuan's neighboring Chongqing Municipality. But the project was shelved due to villagers' protest over concerns after the land loss. It was not resumed until February 8 this year.

The project, stretching more than 33 hectares and costing about 2 billion yuan (US$292,984), is based in Lebao Town, including a complex of luxury hotels, resorts, clubs and parks.

Government data indicated the land was auctioned in 2007 for over 62 million yuan.