Chinese villagers riot over land grab

Up to ten thousand Chinese villagers blockaded a warehouse in the village of Sanzhou in the southern province of Guangdong last week, claiming it had been built on land seized illegally by the Chinese government.

Submitted by Mike Harman on November 12, 2006

The villagers barricaded around 300 officials and foreign businessmen in the warehouse during its official opening, and were attacked by up to 1,000 riot police using batons, attack dogs and tear gas, holding the building overnight until they were dispersed in the morning.

Villagers stated that of around 9,000 total acres in the village, around half had been sold off by officials without any compensation. There have been protests throughout this year against the land grabs, part of an increasing level of social unrest across China - the Chinese government's own figures published in January identified 87,000 "public order disturbances, obstructions of justice, gathering of mobs and stirring up of trouble".