Residents of Peiying village near the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou woke up to the thundering sound of bulldozers and diggers, as the authorities sent more than 400 people in a massive forced eviction and demolition operation to raze their homes on March 19. Two women evictees, surnamed Ding and Song, tell their story:
Ding: Yesterday they came in force to demolish our homes. They first detained three local residents, and then all the people in our village came out in protest.
Yesterday evening the police and the riot police came and there was a huge standoff with the entire village right into the night.
We have already been to Beijing to petition about this, but the local government dragged us back here to a detention center in Zhengzhou and locked us up for 10 days.
More than 2,000 people are affected in more than 500 households.
Compensation 'not enough'
Song: We are being forced to accept the government's compensation proposals for their homes.
But the amount they are giving us won't be enough to buy new homes. They have promised us temporary housing, but a lot of people were worried they'll go back on their word.
That's why we refused to leave.
Our houses are all concrete, and they are worth about 820 yuan (U.S.$132) per square meter. But they just gave us a piece of white paper and then they chased us away.
We are supposed to take the piece of paper to buy one of their commercial homes, but there's a shortfall.
They are only paying out about 200,000 yuan (U.S. $32,000) in compensation for most of the villagers' homes, but they want half a million (U.S. $80,000) for the commercially built homes.
We would need to put in a lot of money ourselves. Basically, we have given away all of the value in our homes to someone else.
Reported by Lin Jing for RFA's Cantonese Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.