Farmers in China Face Great Wall – Mark Magnier

From the Los Angeles Times (link): The teenager shifted his lanky body in a worn folding chair and reflected on his father. “He’s brave,” said Huang Chaoping, 17, glancing at the grimy walls and dirt-caked floor of their farmhouse. “I really admire his courage.” His father, Huang Weizhong, was seized by police on a Beijing railway platform and has languished in jail for five months. He is accused of “disturbing social order.” His real crime, however, may be his belief that the rule of law should trump raw power. Events in Yanshou, where powerful local officials stand to make a killing by strong-arming villagers, represent a tiny chapter in China’s great land grab. Uneducated farmers, once considered the backbone of the Communist Party, are facing off in growing numbers against well-funded local officials versed in divide-and-conquer tactics, intimidation and backroom dealing. From 1998 to 2005, there were more than 1 million cases of illegal seizure involving at least 815,447 acres, according to the Ministry of Land and Resources. ...
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