Chinese Farmers Moved into Apartments in Land Grab

AP reports on farmers who are refusing to be forcibly relocated off of their farmland and moved into apartments to make way for development by the local governments:

As China tries to protect farmland from development, officials are going after the land underneath farmers’ homes instead. The relocations, often forced and at compensation levels deemed unfair, are raising tensions in a countryside already straining from protests over official misdeeds.

Sun’s one-story wood and red brick house may be dingy and poorly insulated, but it has nine rooms, a well in the yard and plots to grow cucumbers and tomatoes. It also sits on land that has been home to generations of his family. Officials want him to give that up for a two-bedroom apartment with central heating, gas, and modern toilets — and to fork out 30,000 yuan ($4,600) for the relocation.

“They’re taking my house. They should be giving me money. Why should I have to pay them?” he said at his home, about an hour’s drive from Beijing.

The problems appear to stem from a well-intentioned new national land policy that has gone awry in the hands of greedy and sometimes corrupt local officials.

Read more about forced evictions and land disputes in China, via CDT.