A video showing villagers being beaten by members of an official demolition team has gone viral and led to the local authority issuing an apology.
The beatings took place when a team of local officials were attempting to remove villagers from over 30 residential houses in Xiuying district, Haikou city, China’s Hainan Province on April 30.
The official demolition team, helmeted and dressed in black uniforms, were seen beating villagers with sticks. Many of the victims were women and children and can be heard crying in the video.
According to caixin.com, the demolition team comprised over 1,200 people including local policemen, chengguan officers and firefighters
The officials were there to evict local residents and take down “illegal” buildings. The buildings were built by local villagers around seven years ago and some had been sold to people outside the village.
The local government claimed the constructions were illegal and against the public good and the land trades were illegal. However local villagers said the government should have consulted with the homeowners and launched an investigation before they took any actions. “Some villagers will have no house to live in,” a villager told caixin.com.
The video went viral online with many netizens shocked that this sort of thing could happen in China. Some online comments called on severe punishments for those responsible for the violence seen in the video. Seven demolition crew members have been detained while further investigation is underway.
The local government held a press conference on Saturday making an apology to the villagers. Huang Hongru, the Xiuying district executive has resigned and accepted full responsibility while the demolition team leader has been dismissed.
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