Villagers petitioned the Shenzhen Government yesterday after a developer bulldozed their houses before compensation had been agreed. Thirty people, mostly elderly, arrived at the Shenzhen People's Government Building at 2 pm with a petition letter addressed to Shenzhen Mayor Li Zibin , Deputy Mayor Wang Ju and Party Secretary Li Youwei . Last Wednesday, seven ancestral houses in Jiebian and Liuyue villages in Nanshan were knocked down despite appeals to the district authorities. The letter said villagers had tried to solve the dispute peacefully and patiently in meeting different government departments. It also mentioned the plight of former revolutionary Chan Chak-kan, 74, whose house was demolished when he was in Hong Kong. His assets, including a shoe-making machine, were destroyed. The letter was signed by 52 villagers representing 300 households in the two villages. Villagers had to wait for an hour outside the building before the letter was accepted and they were allowed to air their grievances. They vowed to take their petition to provincial level if no positive response was received. 'We have no choice. We can't allow them to take our inherited properties,' villager Jiang Chaoguang said. Clearance of the two villages in Nanshan is part of a new town project. Thirteen village houses were targeted in the stage one clearance. Seven were levelled last Wednesday. Villagers said the remaining six households were told on Friday to negotiate compensation with the developer within seven days. Otherwise, the authorities would apply for clearance from the Planning Land Bureau. 'We're not going to accept the so-called compensation of offering us flats which have failed to sell on the property market,' said Tsui Kwan, a villager. 'They're our ancestral properties. What we want is land, not flats to which we will only be entitled to 40 to 50 years' ownership.'