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Residents of China’s Shandong Left Homeless by Suspended Rural Resettlement Plan

Land seized for a mass rural resettlement program of “village mergers” that was suspended amid public and state media criticism in Lanling county in the eastern Chinese province of Shandong.Photo courtesy of a resident via RFA

Authorities in the eastern province of Shandong have suspended a mass rural resettlement program after it was criticized by the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper, the People’s Daily, in the face of growing public anger.

While government land grabs in rural areas have sparked mass unrest and, rarely, organized resistance across China for decades, the Shandong program of “village mergers” was far more ambitious in scope, and had been packaged as a bid to improve the lives of farming communities in a total revamp of rural areas.

But local residents told RFA that the program had left them homeless and with no income, compensation or social security assistance.

Xiao Li, a resident of Xinxing township in Shandong’s Lanling county, said his family had fled their home to escape ruthless harassment by the authorities after they tried to say no to the resettlement plan.

Their idyllic courtyard extended family home that had been renovated in 2009 was demolished in their absence.

Shandong provincial party secretary Liu Jiayi announced at end of June that the controversial resettlement program would be suspended.

“The projects that are controversial among people and the ones that have not been launched yet should be suspended and checked again,” Liu said in comments quoted by the Global Times, which has close ties to the People’s Daily.

Liu added that the program had been “rashly” implemented, it said.

No compensation, no accommodation, no subsidies

Village mergers and rural development programs in other parts of China haven’t usually involved people being forced out of their homes, the paper said.

But families whose homes have already been lost say they have seen no compensation, no resettlement accommodation and no government subsidies to help them get by.

“I haven’t received anything,” Xiao Li told RFA. “I am living at a friend’s place right now. I’m homeless.”

“They have destroyed everything, and I am pretty much a beggar now. I rely on my friend to feed me,” he said.

Six other Xinling residents told RFA that, as of July 24, they had yet to receive compensation linked to the scheme’s suspension, and that they had already exhausted all of the possible options when it came to government relief.

Xiao Li said the local village committee had totally failed to stand up for the interests of local residents.

“Not only did they not stand up for our interests; they actually provided detailed information [to enforcers] about possible weaknesses that could be exploited in the case of families who didn’t want to sign the agreements,” Xiao Li said.

“We didn’t organize, because we didn’t dare to organize.”

According to a June 25 commentary in the People’s Daily, the original rural development plan was a good one, but its harsh implementation had sparked public anger, partly because people didn’t have a meaningful choice.

“You have to agree to it, or it will affect your children’s college entrance examinations and civil service exams,” the article said, adding that holdouts had been bumped to the top of the demolition gangs’ lists.

Property rights

Kristen Looney, assistant professor of Asian studies at Georgetown University in the United States, said Chinese rural residents have no access to rural organizations that protected the rights of their counterparts in Taiwan and South Korea.

Property rights are also lacking in China.

Guo Yuhua, sociology professor at Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University, said China’s farmers don’t actually own their land, but lease it on contract from a nebulous entity known as the “collective,” a throwback to the Mao era of commune-style rural living.

“In Chinese law, urban land is owned by the state. But who is the state? Rural land is owned by the collective, but who is the collective?” Guo says, in a reference to the Chinese Communist Party’s control of both entities.

“The land isn’t yours. Property rights are not guaranteed in China at all, and property rights underlie human rights,” he said.

California State University professor Song Yongyi, an expert on Chinese rural land reforms, put it more bluntly, saying that the Communist Party is effectively the biggest landlord in China.”

“If the issue of property rights isn’t resolved, conflicts like this will continue,” Song said. “Petitions and complaints may occasionally resolve individual issues. But the main issue won’t be resolved.”

At the 18th Party Congress in 2013, an attempt was made to reform property rights to allow for greater protection for landowners, homeowners and businesses.

But it was overturned personally by Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping.

Private ownership taboo

According to Wen Guanzhong, economics professor at Trinity College in the U.S., said nobody has dared to raise the issue since.

“Anyone who tries to discuss private ownership of land in public now is setting themselves against the general secretary,” Wen said.

“You would basically be risking your life, because the general secretary has more power than the whole party combined. Nobody is going to do that.”

According to Guo, current policy debates can now only “go around in circles” on issues such as demolition methods, persuasion work, and local finance initiatives.

The fundamental power structure remains the same, however.

“The central government must control everything, and this rule must be maintained behind closed doors. There are no checks or balances on power,” Guo said.

Fellow Xinling resident Xiao Lan has posted a number of posts to social media platform WeChat since her home was demolished in March 2020.

She has called online for an investigation into official corruption surrounding the resettlement program, but there is scant coverage in the state-controlled media following a directive from the powerful central propaganda department ordering them to lay off the story.

The phrase “village mergers,” which was originally used to describe the scheme, has been removed from China’s tightly censored internet, and only positive reports about the “beautification” of rural areas are now allowed. The ban also extends to social media posts.

“Who actually cares about me?” one of Xiao Lan’s posts read. “Nobody in my contacts list, none of my followers: nobody, basically,” she wrote.


Reported by Jane Tang for RFA’s Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie

Copyright © 1998-2020, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036. https://www.rfa.org

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How to identify Fake News or Messeges on Social Media 

Beware of Fake News and Fake Messages on Social Media

Always follow websites or social media platforms of traditional media outlets whether newspapers, magazines,Television News Channels or Radio Stations and authentic online only media outlets.They still maintain journalism excellence and stress on reportorial talent.On the other hand, fake news websites run by people with non journalism background and promote their own ideology with fake news and disinformations and obviously conspiracy theories.

But unfortunately mainstream media also manipulates news to establish their story angle.There were various instances when News papers and TV Channels promoted fake news/conspiracy theories in the form of out of context or manipulated pictures/videos and distorted informations.

Always check the URL of any website.Some fake news websites look like the orginal and popular one the same layout,Logo but if you check the URL you may find extra words like if the orginal website's URL is www.xxx.com the duplicate one might be www.xxx.com.co or something like that so first check the URL for authentic informations.

Check whether photos are original or photoshopped.Check Google images for authenticity.You can find help from Google Reverse Images search.

Check the news sources from other websites whether they picked up the story or not.

Whether the website layout is little bit clumsy and obviously grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes and excessive use of Sex related and sensational and hate stories.Because sex and hate sells.

Follow official websites relating to COVID-19

WHO Clarifies the disinformation about the virus:
COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates
Cold Weather and Snow can not kill the new coronavirus
Taking a Hot Bath Does Not Prevent COVID-19
COVID-19 Can not be transmitted through mosquito bites

Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth)

According to World Health Organization (WHO): Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth . If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover.

If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition

Follow WHO guidelines

www.who.int

When you follow COVID-19 related news and messages from social media then check and recheck it before consuming it.Follow journalism mantra: if your mother says she loves you, check it out.

Most of the messages or informations quote different organizations like WHO, UNICEF, UNDP,Cambridge University  or other well known institutes,organizations or individual to authenticate the messeges.Check official websites of these organizations  if stories are repeated there

Forwarding messages from unknown sources or little known sources, it would be better to ignore it.

Check whether any logo like UNICEF or WHO or other organizations used in the messages which look similar to original logo.

These type of messages are full of Grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes which are quite uncommon in original messages.

Don't rely on viral social media messages such as Coronavirus Infected Indian Currencies of Rs.500 and Rs.2,000 Notes Found, Muslim Man Spit in Food At Indian Restaurant.....Always Check Authentic Sources.

Some fake messages pretend to be real one like unofficial Twitter handle of international media organizations like BBC,CNN,Washinton Post, New York Times-check the official Twitter handles of media outlets.

You can identify fake messages if the message requests you to share it.

Beware of Fake News or Fake Photos/Videos Relating to Communal Hatred

Always check the fact checking sites if you have some doubts about the authenticity of any information or picture.

www.boomlive.in

www.altnews.in

https://check4spam.com

https://smhoaxslayer.com

www.factchecker.in

www.allsides.com

www.factcheck.org

www.newsbusters.org

www.politifact.com

www.snopes.com

www.propublica.org

The Same Method Applies to You Tube Videos Check the Source the credibility of the Source.To Check Fake You Tube Videos Check and Recheck the sources. Does the person have the legal right to the video posted? Did that person capture the video? Whether it has been altered?

But due to advancement of technology we can not really wipe out fake news.According to experts advent of  Artificial Intelligence(AI) some companies small or big one developing  technologies that can  lay digitally created script to anybody's voice  even words,sentences never said by the person.Even they a.re developing a technology which can create fake video footage,images,audios like originals.So be cautious! Rumour-mongers are active everywhere whether in physical world or cyber world.

For any further information relating to fake news and how-to search authentic informations from the internet write to us info@crimeandmoreworld.com or Whats App:+919073399779

COVID-19 Related Conspiracy Theories:
https://fsi.stanford.edu/news/china-covid19

 

 

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