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Panhe land protests halted after villagers detained by security forces
Global Times | February 17, 2012 00:40
By Xu Wen
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The protests over a land dispute in Panhe village, Zhejiang Province, have come to a halt after several more people were detained by security forces, local villagers told the Global Times yesterday.

Two villagers, Lü Xisi, 49, and Lü Yangyu, in his 40s, were taken away by "plainclothes agents" on Wednesday night and yesterday morning respectively, according to a 51-year-old Panhe villager surnamed Lü,

Three protests over land disputes were staged on February 1, 3 and 5. Several dozens of people who took part were detained on Tuesday, local villagers told the Global Times.

According to a notice issued by the a local official news website, the local authorities have paid close attention to the land dispute since the first protest.

A team was soon established by the county government to investigate. The team met with village representatives to address any reasonable demands made, the notice said.

But a few villagers incited others to destroy public property and establish roadblocks, which seriously disrupted social order. Three suspects had been arrested in connection with these events Wednesday, according to the notice.

The issue in Panhe dates back several years, when village authorities gradually took villagers' land and sold it to 12 companies.

Since last July, the villagers have elected over 20 representatives, who proposed several solutions to the local government and demanded compensation, to no avail.

A lead official of the work team, surnamed Huang, told the Global Times Wednesday that the local government offered a settlement of 16,000 yuan ($2,540) per mu (0.067 hectare) and the money was to be paid into the village's account yesterday.

But local villager said yesterday they did not receive any money and nobody has ever informed them of the compensation process.

Remko Tanis, a Dutch freelance journalist in China, told the Global Times that he was beaten and expelled Wednesday by a crowd of men. "I tried to talk to them and find out who they were, but any questions only resulted in further beatings or threats," he said.

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