For Shao Xiguang in Foshan, Guangdong, standing up for his right to own land can be a risky business. 'The central government has done much to protect our rights as farmers,' said Mr Shao, an 82-year-old farmer in Sanshan village under Foshan. 'But why are we farmers now enjoying fewer rights than we had decades ago?' In 2005, protests broke out in Mr Shao's village after local officials had decided to 'sell' villagers' land - actually, transfer land-use rights - to overseas investors but refused to compensate the villagers properly. Thousands of police were sent in to take over the land and get rid of the crops over the villagers' objections. 'We just want the local government to pay us 49,200 yuan [HK$55,378] for each mu [0.06667 hectares] of land as compensation as it is stipulated in the law,' Mr Shao said. 'But local officials just turned a blind eye to the law.' Villagers claimed they had lost at least 8 million yuan as a result. Because of the protests, authorities sent Mr Shao's daughter and six other villagers to 're-education' labour camps. In December 2005, at least three villagers in Shanwei in Guangdong were shot dead by police in protests against the government.