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Cablegate: South China Violent Land Disputes Symptomatic of The

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DE RUEHGZ #0083/01 0430728
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 120728Z FEB 10
FM AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1386
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE 0466
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1139
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 0396
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0462
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 0395
RUEHSH/AMCONSUL SHENYANG 0405
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASH DC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC 0125
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC 0434
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC 0430

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 GUANGZHOU 000083

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/CM, DRL, S/P, INR/EAP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM SOCI ECON PGOV CH
SUBJECT: South China Violent Land Disputes Symptomatic of the
Country's Larger Governance Problems

REF: A) SHANGHAI 10, B) 09 GUANGZHOU 689, C) 09 BEIJING 3399, D) 09
CHENGDU 230, E) 09 GUANGZHOU 466

GUANGZHOU 00000083 001.2 OF 002


(U) This document is sensitive but unclassified. Please protect
accordingly. Not for release outside U.S. government channels. Not
for internet publication.

1. (SBU) Summary: Violence erupted in a long festering land dispute
in rural Longya Village of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region early on
January 12, 2010, resulting in a number of arrests and
hospitalizations for local villagers and public security officers.
Congenoff visited the site on February 5 and saw no signs of the
violence. But government notices were posted on village buildings
describing "the crime" and naming suspects who were instructed to
turn themselves in and "confess their criminal deeds" so they could
be "educated in accordance with law." End summary.

2. (SBU) Comment: Land-related protests, which often turn violent,
are widespread in south China, frequently stemming from local
officials colluding with property developers to pay little or no
compensation to displaced residents. The problem is often
exacerbated by unrealistic expectations among local citizens about
the compensation they can receive if they refuse initial offers and
hold out for more. These tensions, coupled with little effective
government oversight or media scrutiny of local officials, as well
as a lack of legal remedies or other dispute resolution mechanisms
for displaceTQQT
Uyor local officials and China's legal
institutions can both be strengthened, these types of protests are
likely to continue, and possibly even increase, fueled by rising
land prices that lead both developers and local residents to see
China's limited usable land as their ticket to prosperity. End
comment.

Accept the Deal, Get Off the Land
---------------------------------

3. (U) Violence erupted in the tiny rural village of Longya before
dawn on January 12, 2010. The story was reported in the
Guangzhou-based newspaper Southern Metropolis Daily and by Stratfor
Global Intelligence, an Austin, Texas-based provider of foreign
affairs research and analysis in the company's China Security Memo.
Both articles described how public security personnel entered the
village at 5:00 am on January 12 to arrest several residents who had
prevented local authorities from taking possession of disputed land
in mid-December.

4. (U) Violence ensued when neighbors and friends reportedly
surrounded public security officers and refused to let them arrest
the 12 villagers sought by local authorities. Stratfor reported
that the 12 individuals had been called to testify in a court
hearing to dispute local government claims to the land. The report
contended that by arresting the villagers before they could appear
in court, local officials and property developers would be granted
final clearance to seize the land.

Please, Don't Shoot!
--------------------

5. (U) All reports of the violence, including local government
notices posted in the village, described how local residents used
sickles, hoes and fire bombs to attack police and set a police car
ablaze. Outside reports also noted that police fired on a number of
villagers, including one 37-year-old man who was hospitalized with 5
shots to his leg and toes and another who was shot twice in the
chest and once in the leg, although government notices conspicuously
omitted any mention of police gun use.

6. (U) Following the pre-dawn clash, police retreated for several
hours before returning at noon with approximately 100 officers,
including two heavily armed officers who reportedly traveled 100
kilometers from Guilin city with machine guns, according to the
press reports. The mid-day police action concluded with numerous

GUANGZHOU 00000083 002.2 OF 002


additional arrests and removal of the burned out police car. A
journalist from Southern Metropolis Daily who visited the area a few
days later was initially denied access and information, before
reportedly being beaten by local thugs for investigating the story,
which was eventually published one week after the incident.

Tense Silence in Longya Village
-------------------------------

7. (SBU) When Congenoff visited the village February 5, there was no
trace of the violence that took place 3 weeks earlier except for a
few official notices posted on buildings about perpetrators. There
was also evidence that there might have previously been many more
notices pasted to walls throughout the village, but now only a few
of the original notices remained, and a new notice had been posted
February 4 listing the names of wanted suspects. When asked for
information, on one in the village was rude, but residents declined
to discuss the incident with Congenoff. For a picture and English
translations of the two notices please visit Guangzhou's South China
SEZ blog at http://www.intelink.gov/
communities/state/southchinasez/.

JACOBSEN

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