Haikou district head resigns over violence at forced demolition

By Shan Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2016-5-3 0:33:02

A district head in Haikou, South China's Hainan Province resigned Sunday after residents were beaten during a forced demolition on Friday, and local authorities also apologized after the incident sparked widespread public criticism.

Huang Hongru, head of Haikou's Xiuying district, has resigned for his failures in managing, supervising and leading the demolition of illegally erected structures. Deputy Party Secretary of the Haikou Party Committee Wu Chuanzhu, Haikou Deputy Mayor Bateer and other officials visited and apologized to the people affected by the violence, Haikou-based news portal hkwb.net reported Monday.

The apologies came after a video that went viral on Saturday showed several women and children sitting on the ground being beaten by black-clad men wearing helmets and wielding clubs.

An earlier news conference called by the Haikou government confirmed the authenticity of the aforementioned video and others showing villagers obstructing law enforcement officers by throwing rocks, setting off fireworks and burning gas tanks, chinanews.com reported Monday.

More than 1,200 law enforcement officers - 30 of them bearing firearms - from chengguan (urban management), public security, land use, firefighting and local town government departments were involved in the forced demolition in Qionghua village, Xiuying district, Beijing-based newspaper The Mirror reported Sunday. The report also stated that the demolition affected 104 allegedly illegally occupied buildings spread throughout an area of 25,000 square meters.

According to hkwb.net's Saturday report, 11 individuals suspected of violently resisting the demolition were taken away for further questioning, while several officers involved in the demolition were placed under administrative detention.

"Some local governments occupy and sell lands for construction. As the process usually involves chains of interests, corruption is also involved, which makes it easy for forced demolitions like this one to occur," Zhou Xiaozheng, a sociology professor at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Monday.

Luo Baoming, Hainan's provincial Party chief, said on March 7 during this year's two sessions that even though the process is difficult and involves interest chains, "neither petitions nor mass incidents had ever occurred" as the result of demolishing a total of 8.7 million square meters of illegal structures, the Hainan Daily reported.

The United Nations declared Sunday on its official WeChat account that forced demolition is a severe violation of human rights and appealed to every government to make their best efforts to eradicate the practice.

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