Government steps up its clampdown on illegal forced evictions
Beijing has stepped up its crackdown on brazen land grabs and forced demolitions.
A total of 57 local government officials have been penalised, Xinhua reported.
Of those, 31 are under criminal investigation. They were allegedly involved in forcing people out of their homes earlier this year, which led to violent clashes.
The government's move comes after large-scale protests against land-grabs in Guangdong province, one of the country's economic hubs.
Lufeng , a city of 1.7 million people, saw violent clashes with authorities last week.
Residents in the village of Wukan ransacked a government office and police station. They said officials had helped developers to steal farmland for development.
Last March, a 48-year-old woman died after being buried in rubble in a forced demolition imposed by the district government in Changchun , the capital of northeastern Jilin province.
The Ministry of Supervision forced the mayor to apologise publicly.
Observers say such cases are especially alarming.
The central government's new regulations, enacted in January, say that demolition cannot proceed without a compensation agreement.
They also outlaw violence or threats to force homeowners out.