Chinese Protestors against Land Grabs Could Face Crackdown

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Tens of thousands of residents in eastern China have been protesting for days against land-grabs by local officials. Authorities responded by issuing a notice. It seems they are paving the way for a crackdown on the demonstrators.

Authorities in China’s eastern Jiangsu province have signaled a crackdown on residents protesting against land grabs by officials. It comes after almost two weeks of protests since July 14, with tens of thousands of residents in Suzhou city demanding compensation for their land.

The Suzhou Bureau of Public Security issued a notice last Thursday, saying people who disturb social order could get prison terms. Large groups of military police have also moved into the area, according to online news service Canyu. Authorities told locals to stay indoors and asked them to sign promises that they won't participate in any demonstrations.

Authorities have been taking land from farmers since 2003 for industrial park development. But for years the land laid idle and farmers received no compensation. Then earlier this month, authorities in Tong’an County auctioned off a block of residential land for over $190 million U.S. dollars.

Protestors took over the county building for two days, after officials told them they would not be compensated. Riot police then violently broke up the protest.

Since then, residents have staged daily demonstrations throughout the city.

The incident has not been reported by local media, and many online blogs posted by locals have also been removed.

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