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Standing Their Ground: Thousands facing violent evictions in China

    A woman tries to protect her house from being demolished in Yangji village, southern China, © Benjamin gz, Imaginechina
    A woman tries to protect her house from being demolished in Yangji village, southern China, © Benjamin gz, Imaginechina
    October 11, 2012

    The forced eviction of people from their homes or land they occupy without adequate legal protections is banned under international law. In spite of this, forced evictions in both rural and urban settings have become a routine occurrence across China.

    Forced evictions are so pervasive that they represent the single largest source of popular discontent in China. The rise in forced evictions in recent years have resulted from the rapid pace of urbanization and the Chinese government incentivizing local officials to deliver economic growth at any cost. 

    Individuals and communities that seek redress face beatings, harassment, imprisonment and even death at the hands of thugs hired by local officials, with the complicity of local police. Additionally, the lack of independence of Chinese courts means that individuals seeking redress face barriers to gaining justice and asserting their rights. Evictees are often offered minimal or no compensation and inadequate alternative housing, in direct violation of international law.