Mass Eviction and Protest in Inner Mongolia
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|Type of violation||
|Date||13 June 2007|
|Region||A [ Asia ]|
|Location||Hohhot, Inner Mongolia|
Forced Resettlement of Tibetans through Comfortable Housing Program.htm
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Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)
Residents Fight Forced Evictions in Inner Mongolia |
13 June 2007
5,000 railway workers and their families confront police in the city of Hohhot in China’s latest outbreak of unrest.
Thousands of workers and local residents clashed with armed police last Friday in a struggle against eviction from their apartments “earmarked for demolition by city government.” This outbreak of mass civil disobedience in the nominally “autonomous” region of Inner Mongolia, coming just days after violent protests in Chongqing, Zhengzhou and in an ethnic Tibetan region of Sichuan province, makes it hard to believe official claims that “mass incidents” are less frequent in China this year.
According to a report from the Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, based in Hong Kong, about 500 police plus workers from a construction company faced some 5,000 residents determined to protest a compensation offer set at just 40 per cent of the city’s average housing price. At least 20 people were reported injured, three were arrested and several police vehicles were damaged as the residents fought for most of last Friday to prevent the destruction of a fence around their community, which lies adjacent to the city’s main railway station. Most of the residents of the community “numbering 13,000” are railway workers and their families.
An officer from one of Hohhot’s police stations told the German press agency, DPA, that six police vehicles were damaged. The city government declined to comment on the incident. The residents blocked several roads for about six hours according to reports.
The action comes on the heels of a report from an international housing rights group that catalogued serious abuses in the redevelopment of Beijing and other cities in China. These abuses included giving little or no notice of eviction, false promises of compensation, violence and intimidation, the Geneva-based Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) said in a report.
“In Beijing, and in China more generally, the process of demolition and eviction is characterized by arbitrariness and lack of due process,” the COHRE report noted.
Working Class Unity in Struggle
Hohhot is the provincial capital of the nominally “autonomous” province of Inner Mongolia. The incident comes as the city gears up to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, a sensitive issue especially among the younger generation of ethnic Mongolians who have become more outspoken in their hostility to continued Han Chinese domination. Mongolians make up less than a third of the population of the province, which is also home to many smaller ethnic groups. The province’s economy has boomed in recent years on the back of the surge in prices for coal and other resources. But this newfound wealth have been pocketed by a business and political elite, with ordinary workers and farmers seeing few benefits, while the region’s environmental problems have only been exacerbated.
The protests in Hohhot underline the need for the unity of the poor and oppressed of all ethnic groups in order to stand up to the injustices of capitalism, official corruption and police brutality.
The clashes in Hohhot come at the end of a week that saw more than 2,000 residents fight with police in China’s largest city, Chongqing, after a flower seller was beaten by police. A similar incident involving a young female student who had her teeth knocked out by city inspectors triggered a riot by several thousand students and workers in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province. Meanwhile in the southwestern province of Sichuan, Tibetan farmers violence erupted as Tibetan farmers tried to protest against a mining company`s encroachment on local land. The Chinese government have released figures for 2006 claiming to show a decline of about one-third in the number of so-called “mass incidents” (protests involvin