Villagers evicted from Xiaoguwei island to make way for Guangzhou's University Town are not going quietly from their ancestral homes. After learning in June 2002 that Xiaoguwei had been selected as the site of the campus, the villagers sent three representatives to Beijing to plead their case against eviction, but they got no further than the Guangzhou East Railway Station. Sent back to the island, the villagers decided to make another attempt to get to Beijing in November that year. Huang Yaoqiang, who lives in a tent in a temporary village set up by those evicted, said: 'First they took the ferry to Yuzhu. From there, the villagers took a taxi to Dongguan and then a bus to Xiamen where they boarded a flight to Tianjin . From there, they made their way to Beijing, arriving on November 8 during the National People's Congress [session].' That circuitous mission failed to prevent their eviction late last year when construction work began, but the villagers persisted in making secret journeys to lobby Beijing - in January, March and June. Meanwhile, the residents of Guolang and Nanting, who erected a tent settlement after being evicted, had their shelters torn down by officials time and again. Mr Huang said he and his fellow villagers had not wept when their houses were demolished, but could not hold back their tears when their tent homes were destroyed. 'We only had our tents and still they tore down such a basic shelter,' he said. Despite such ordeals, the villagers are steadfast in their belief that the central government and the law will not fail them. Guo Biao, 71, a former village chief and Communist Party member, insists that their rights are written into the constitution. 'The nation has to enforce this [right] ... We have lived through many campaigns and served the people,' he said. 'We are not scolding the party but the corrupt officials.' Lin Xin, 90, is another villager holding out for better days. She has chosen to stay in her son's tent to await his release from jail. Guo Zhihua , who has served half his 14-month jail sentence for beating up eviction officials, has vowed to finish his term rather accept an allocated apartment in return for early release.