CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 22 July 2017

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All in the name of progress

BEIJING (AsiaNews): A family of seven in Hanzhong, a village in Shaanxi province, northwestern China, was dragged from their home, bound and gagged, by a demolition team, The Beijing News has reported.
 
The family had refused compensation from local authorities, who responded on July 1 by sending in a wrecking crew.
 
Operating under the dictum, anything in the name of progress, the team secured the family with zip ties and tape, dragging all seven out of the house before beginning to demolish it.
 
A relative rushed to the scene after receiving a phone call at about 6.00am and found a mechanical digger at work dismantling the house, which was surrounded by several people holding clubs.
 
About 20 metres away, the family was sitting or lying on the ground, crying and calling for help, with their hands and feet bound. One of them had his mouth taped.
 
The relative was quoted as saying the house had been placed under a demolition order for the area as early as 2014, but the family had refused to move, because it was not happy with the government compensation proposal.
 
Police were call to the scene an hour later. They freed the family and sent them to hospital. One had a broken rib, while others suffered soft tissue injuries.
 
An official with the local government publicity department told The Beijing News that the residents of the 301-square metre-floor space house, would be compensated with four flats and 96,000 yuan ($115,200) in cash.
 
However, the family was demanding five street-level shops, four parking spaces and 1.2 million yuan ($1.44 million) in renovation and furnishing fees on top of that.
 
The report said that four members of the demolition team had been detained and police were still looking into the matter.
 
Forced evictions and demolitions have been a persistent problem in China, especially in its vast rural areas, after decades of rapid development and urbanisation.
 
Homeowners who refuse to move have been beaten and even killed, making it one of the country’s main causes of social tensions and unrest.

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