Tuesday, June 22, 2010

.China farmer uses cannon to fight eviction

BEIJING (AFP) – A farmer in central China has turned his home into a fort equipped with a homemade cannon and fireworks to fight off government eviction in an ongoing land dispute, state media said Wednesday.

Yang Youde, 56, has twice repelled government-backed demolition crews in Hubei province by firing the cannon and peppering workers with fireworks, the Beijing News said.

Yang manufactured his arsenal with used stove pipes and 2,000 yuan (300 dollars) worth of fireworks, it said.

His cannon can fire projectiles up to 100 metres (yards), it said.

"I'm a law-abiding citizen, I don't believe these fireworks can kill," Yang said in an interview.

"I must protect my rights. I believe that the lower-level officials are out to harm the people, but higher-level leaders are enlightened," he said.

"I'm a farmer. My whole life depends on farming. If I surrender, I have nowhere to go."

In the latest confrontation in May, workers beat Yang up after he ran out of fireworks, the report said.

China has witnessed a surge of violent confrontations triggered by land seizures as officials and businesses seek to cash in on a nationwide property boom by evicting residents and developing their land.

In late April, a Communist Party official in Henan province was detained after he ordered a truck driver to run over a protester in a land dispute. The protester was killed.

In another case, a 47-year-old woman set herself on fire in November in Sichuan province over the planned demolition of her husband's garment-processing business. She died 16 days later.