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Subject: Land Development Protests in Southern China

Mark Tirpak
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Date Posted: 14:57:39 12/06/06 Wed
In reply to: Mark Tirpak 's message, "Sustainability Resources" on 17:39:28 09/18/06 Mon

I traveled through Guangdong province, China (near Hong Kong) in the summer of 2005, in order to participate in Prof. Ming Zhang's International Transportation Seminar and planning workshop in Ji'an (Jianqxi province). Development in Guangdong has impacted development in Ji'an - including in terms of the "floating population" of workers from Ji'an who live and work illegally in Guangzhou (and other cities in Guangdong province) during part of the year and who bring new economic wealth, skills, and tastes back to Ji'an.

When I visited Guangzhou, the capitol of Guangdong province, the city was nearing completion on a metro system and clearly growing as an urban center. Guangzhou has also beensite of some work by William McDonnough's China-U.S.Center for Sustainable Development(http://www.chinauscenter.org) - work focused to eco-urbanism and rural eco-development.

I have contact information for Habitat for Humanity of Guangzhou (which recently merged with HFH of Hong Kong), and they welcome UTSOA volunteers. Affordable housing - especially for the rural poor, is a big issue.

CRP students interested in transit-oriented development (TOD), affordable housing, and sustainable development could gain a lot from exploring this region and its current challenges - including, possibly, by completing volunteer internships with HFH of Guangzhou or the China-U. S. Center for Sustainable Development.

Just some ideas! A flight to Hong Kong from Dallas can be as cheap as $600 and it is easy to travel to Guangzhou from HK either by train or bus. Here's the story:

Hostages freed in China dispute

Tense stand-off in a Chinese village has ended after police freed eight officials held hostage by angry residents for nine days, reports say.

Residents of Dongzhou in southern Guangdong province seized the officials following the arrest of anti-corruption activist Chen Qian.

Eyewitnesses said police stormed a temple where the hostages were kept firing warning shots and tear gas.

Three people were shot dead by police in a land protest there in 2005. Rural unrest, often blamed on illegal land grabs, is a growing problem.

There are thought to be thousands of protests a year across China, with farmers in villages whose land has been taken often directing their anger at corrupt local officials who skim off the profits when it is sold to developers.

The latest protest was sparked by the detention last week of villager Chen Qian, who was hanging up anti-corruption posters when he was taken into custody, according to Radio Free Asia.

Police vans were deployed outside the village as residents locked hostages in a local temple on 9 November. They moved in nine days later.

Hong Kong's Ming Pao Daily newspaper reported on Sunday that three villagers were also arrested.

"The authorities never wanted to resolve this peacefully. They are like the mafia.
They arrested Chen Qian and two or three others and have beaten them half dead," a villager told AFP news agency. Local officials and police refused to comment.

Dongzhou, near the town of Shanwei, was the scene of a violent stand-off in December 2005 between the locals and police over construction of a power station, which the villagers said was being built on illegally seized farmland.

Authorities said at the time that three people were shot dead by police during the violence, though human rights activists questioned whether the real number was higher.

Last week, residents of another Guangdong village - Sanzhou - took hostage local officials and clashed with police in a row over illegally seized land, Hong Kong media reported.


6 Nov 2004 : Paramilitary troops put down an uprising of 100,000 farmers in Sichuan province

10 April 2005 : 20,000 peasants drive off more than 1,000 riot police in Huaxi, Zhejiang province

11 June 2005 : Six farmers die in a fight with armed men in Shengyou, Hebei province

29 July 2005 : Villagers in Taishi, Guangdong try to oust mayor

6 Dec 2005 : Police shoot dead protesters in Dongzhou, Guangdong

14 Jan 2006 : Police break up protest in Sanjiao, Guangdong, over land grabs

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Green Spaces, Bus Design, Industrial Design, & "psychogeography."Mark Tirpak15:01:39 12/06/06 Wed

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