Eight Chinese police officers hurt in clashes with 100 ‘eviction officials’

Cops come off worse after trying to prevent urban management teams from forcibly removing people from their homes 

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 April, 2018, 5:18pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 April, 2018, 6:35pm

A long-running dispute over a property development in central China escalated into violence on Sunday as police clashed with urban management officials accused of intimidating people into leaving their homes, according to a news report.

Four police officers were taken to hospital and four others were also hurt in clashes with more than 100 urban management officials in the city of Shangqiu, Henan province, The Beijing News reported on Wednesday.

The incident happened as the plain clothes officials – known as chengguan in Mandarin – were trying to evict people from a residential area slated for redevelopment, the report said.

One homeowner, identified only by her surname, Wang, filmed the incident from inside her property, footage of which was later shared by the newspaper on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service.

“Bulldozers stopped outside in front of our courtyard. Ours was the first door they started to break down,” she said. “I kept reporting it to the police, phoning continuously. By the time we had phoned they had already broken the door down and come in.”

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She said that by the time the police arrived, the officials had left a trail of destruction.

“They were carrying batons and started to smash the windows of our house … I told the police to make them leave … there wasn’t anything left that they hadn’t smashed.”

A police report issued on Tuesday said that eight officers from Shangqiu had been injured in the conflict. It did not say if any urban management officials had been injured in the skirmishes or detained for their actions.

The newspaper report said the officials did not have permission to evict any of the residents, but said the incident was related to the proposed redevelopment, plans for which were approved in 2011.

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The proposal involved the relocation of 500 households, though an undisclosed number of them had refused to move.

The local Communist Party committee is investigating the incident, the report said.

Chengguan have a reputation for using violence to enforce order. In 2013, a watermelon vendor in central China’s Hunan province was beaten to death for selling the fruit without a licence, while later the same year a university graduate in the east China city of Nanjing was beaten up for attempting to video the officers demolishing a house.