The Guangzhou Land Resources and Management Bureau yesterday called off a public hearing on the eviction of eight home owners on Xiaoguwei Island after villagers and officials had a shouting match over a ban on recording the hearing. The hearing was one of a series called to arbitrate between the bureau's relocation and demolition department and 40 owners of villas in the so-called 'artists' village' who are refusing to move to make way for Guangzhou's University Town. About 30 villagers, accompanied by their lawyers, faced off for an hour with the bureau's legal section deputy, chief Li Jingwei . The hearing was attended by Guangzhou Land Development Centre deputy director Yang Heping , who is responsible for the eviction, three members of Guangzhou People's Congress and representatives from the construction, urban management and evaluation departments. Mr Li read out rules of the meeting and told the villagers they were not allowed to make any audio or video recording of the hearing, setting off the heated debate over whether the hearing was really public. 'You have no reason to ban us from recording. This is a public hearing, isn't it? What do you have to fear?' one villager shouted. 'Public does not mean you can make a recording,' Mr Li replied. He then called security guards to remove a video camera, but the villagers surrounded the equipment and challenged the guards. A police officer intervened but also failed to get the villagers to give up their equipment. Mr Li then called off the hearing.