China: farmer defends land with improvised rockets

A Chinese farmer has resorted to the use of improvised rockets to fend off demolition crews sent to evict him from his lands to make way for the construction of commercial buildings. Since February, Yang Youde, a 56-year-old farmer on the outskirts of Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei province, has resisted two attempts to flatten his hut by using his homemade rocket system. “I shot only over their heads to frighten them, ” said Yang. “I didn’t want to cause any injuries.”

The rockets, made from fireworks Yang bought from a local market, reach up to 100 meters and make a deafening sound, as he demonstrated in a mock attack for reporters. In February and May, they served to frighten off some 100 demolition workers sent to his land. Local police have tried to persuade him to hand over the rockets, citing laws regulating highly inflammable and explosive materials. But Yang refused and insisted that they are only made from legal fireworks.

The nearby farmland has almost all been requisitioned for the construction of “department buildings.” The developer is evidently eager to start the project, with ditches already dug around Yang’s land. Yang was offered 130,000 yuan (S$26,897) for the land last year, said an official with the local Jinyinhu community.

But Yang demanded almost five times the amount, citing local government policies specifying compensation for the right of land use. Yang signed a contract to use the land with a local farm in the 1980s, when all farmland was officially state-owned. He renewed the contract in early 1990s, which extended his right of land use to 2029. (NTD TV, June 10; China Daily, June 8)

See our last posts on China and the new peasant resistance.

Please leave a tip or answer the Exit Poll.