Doomed China Restaurant Hires Live-in Protester

The managers of a restaurant in Beijing marked for demolition have hired a man, Lu Daren, whom they advertised for on the internet, to protest the restaurant’s destruction:

China Hired Protester“I’m tired,” the 46-year-old (Lu Daren) said Thursday, after a long night of fending off the latest visit from what he suspects were hired thugs by the landlord. “Tired, tired, tired.” He stays — wrapped in blankets, reading the newspaper or writing idle poetry, occasionally taking short walks_ because he thinks the restaurateurs have been treated unfairly.

China has struggled for years with the issue of forced evictions. But some say the violent protests against forced evictions have increased this year, as a massive government stimulus plan has made loans for construction easier. Under law, land seizures are meant to be for public interest projects, but angry citizens have protested evictions meant to make way for shopping malls and luxury apartments… The landlord turned off the water and power at Fish Castle Restaurant Bar nearly a month ago. For the past two days, dozens of men the restaurateurs suspect were sent by the landlord have tried to pull Lu out of the building, along with people squatting in two neighboring restaurants. A shopping center with apartments is planned in their place… Lu says he worked for a demolition company for years in northern Shanxi province and saw abuses on both sides. Some residents would use the evictions as an opportunity to extract high compensation, he said. On the other hand, companies like his sometimes used violence to force people off the land.

He said he remembers watching a woman in neighboring Hebei province get crushed by a wrecking machine several years ago as she tried to defend her home. “There was no time to stop, it was too sudden,” Lu said. She later died at a hospital

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