‘Hundreds’ Demolish Home, Beat Owners


Chinese authorities carry out a violent demolition under the cover of night.

Authorities in the central Chinese province of Henan stormed a villager’s house in a pre-dawn raid, beating and dragging the family away, and then destroying their property, witnesses said, as part of an ongoing government bid to raze more than 2,000 houses for an urban development project.

A member of the family which owned one of the only dozens of buildings still standing in Zhutun village said “hundreds” of government workers knocked down their door last week.

“It was 2:00 a.m. on Feb. 28 when several hundred government employees broke into our house in Zhutun village. They were from Zhongyuan district of Zhengzhou city, the provincial capital of Henan,” Wu Yanjun wrote in an email received by RFA’s Mandarin service Monday.

Wu said his mother, Yu Meichun, and father, Wu Guanbao were woken up by the noise before being set upon by “more than a dozen people.”

“First they covered my mother’s head and forcefully took her to a minivan parked outside. My father was treated in the same way,” Wu wrote.

“From a window I saw a large mob at our door. I tried to call 110 (911 in China) but was pushed to the ground by someone who rushed into my room. They dragged me into a car, beating me so brutally that blood covered my face,” he said.

“In the morning when I came home, our three-story house was leveled to the ground.”

Calls to the owner’s cell phone went unanswered on Monday.

But two residents of the same village, who asked to remain anonymous, verified what Wu Yanjun had written in his email.

“Yes, [the forced demolition] happened. You’d have to see it to believe it,” said a villager.

“Yes, that was last Feb. 28—Tuesday,” said another villager.
“Hundreds of people came [to carry this out],” he added.

‘No one could help’

A third villager, surnamed Lu, said authorities planned the operation late on Tuesday so that “no one could come to help.”

“The Wu family is now living in a tent. There are still about 50 houses on the demolition list in our village,” Lu said.

“The authorities cut off the water and power supply to those houses more than 400 days ago. In fact, my house is one of them,” he said.

“The authorities today asked me again to move out, but they haven’t given me proper compensation, so where can we live?”

Lu, who said he had once been detained for 15 days, and his brother had both served in the People’s Liberation Army.

“This is a tragedy for veterans in China.”

The deputy party chief of Zhutun village refused to answer questions about the demolition when contacted by RFA.

“No, I know nothing about nothing. I am not a cadre,” he said before hanging up the phone.

Contracts flouted

Residents said Zhutun had once been a prosperous village, but that since 2010 most of the area’s 2,300 houses have been demolished for urban development.

Last May, authorities mobilized hundreds of personnel to forcefully demolish a number of the homes, injuring and detaining scores of homeowners who refused to leave.

Private property enjoys theoretical protection under China's Constitution, but ownership of land in China ultimately rests with the state.

Residents often complain that existing leasehold contracts are flouted by local officials and developers keen to swell revenue coffers with lucrative land deals.

China already sees thousands of "mass incidents" across the country every year, according to official statistics, many of which are protests or sit-ins linked to forced evictions, allegations of corruption, and disputes over rural land sales.

Original reporting by Qiao Long for RFA’s Mandarin service. Translated and written by Ping Chen.