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Without forced demolitions there can be no new China

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没有强拆就没有新中国 (méiyǒu qiáng chāi jiù méiyǒu xīn Zhōng guó): Without forced demolitions there can be no new China.
Three self-immolate to protest the demolition of their home in Jiangxi

Forced demolitions in China are one of the major causes of social instability and anger at the government. These incidents can lead to violence, as demolition crews and hired thugs often clash with local residents.

One such incident occurred in Yihuang County in Jiangxi. To protest the forced demolition of their home, Ye Zhongcheng and two members of his family ignited themselves with gasoline.

A government official commenting on the incident wrote:

From a certain perspective, without forced demolitions China won't be urbanized. If there is no urbanization then there will be no "brand-new China." Because of this, couldn't one say that without forced demolitions there can be no "new China?"

The official’s statement set off a firestorm of criticism, receiving more than 6,000 comments within a day of its posting.

Similar incidents have occurred elsewhere. From Shanghai Daily:

On November 13, 2009, a 47-year-old woman, Tang Fuzhen, in southwest China's Sichuan Province, set herself on fire to protest the forced demolition of her house. She died in hospital 16 days later.

This March, a 92-year-old man and his 69-year-old son from Jiangsu Province torched themselves for the same reason. The son died.

In Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, 57-year-old Li Bingfeng is still waiting in her building - with eight bottles of gasoline. On the building there were banners with a statement by Premier Wen Jiabao: “All the things we do are aimed at letting people live more happily and with more dignity."

For more on citizen resistance to forced demolition, see the Asia Times.

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