Saturday, June 25, 2005

And the difference is....?

Someone at True Conservatism posted an interesting article about China's land grabs.

When officials grab land, corruption is often the driving force and the compensation is minimal.

Hundreds of farmers protested in a Beijing suburb yesterday after being forced from their land to make way for an Olympic stadium, the latest in a wave of disputes over property rights.

Makeshift signs reading "Support the Olympics, resettle the farmers who have lost their land!" were strung up alongside a wide green-and-white banner proclaiming the site for the stadium and watersports complex for the 2008 Beijing Games.

The protest came as Communist Party officials hurriedly handed out compensation to the families of six farmers killed in a violent land grab by developers last Saturday.

The six died when five busloads of men armed with shotguns and metal pipes attacked their camp on disputed land 150 kilometres south of Beijing.

That clash followed a battle in Huaxi village, in the eastern province of Zhejiang, on April 10, when thousands of villagers drove off police and trashed vehicles in a clash over pollution from a new industrial park.

The incidents are among the biggest recently reported as China experiences a wave of unrest over land resumptions, often carried out in a corrupt fashion with low compensation.

The disputed land at Maxingzhuang village, the focus of yesterday's protest, is the site for the Shunyi Olympic Aquatic Park, the venue for the rowing and canoeing competitions. The park is one of 14 ultra-modern venues Beijing plans to build for the Games.

Although farmers gained long leases in reforms applied since 1978, title remains with the state.

Lagging incomes in villages and inland regions has become a concern for communist leaders in the past two years. They have reduced taxes and raised grain prices, but are resisting the dramatic switch back to private land ownership that economists urge. ...

Given recent developments in the destruction of our property rights, the Kelo decision differs HOW from what's going on in communist China?

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