A 3-year-old girl has died after being crushed by a bulldozer in a land dispute over her family’s land in China’s Fujian Province.
Hong Xiaorou died under the tracks of the bulldozer as her family pleaded with authorities not to raize their land in Zhangzhou on Wednesday.
“We live in the developing zone and they wanted to acquire our land,” Hong Bingsheng, the toddler’s father, said. The family had been negotiating compensation for acquisition of the land, he told AFP.
The family brought the young girl’s body to a local government office to protest to officials. Photos of the lifeless girl on top of a table with a woman, presumably her mother, crying at her side quickly spread online.
“I asked an official from the demolition team: ‘What is more important – human life or land acquisition?’”
“The official replied: ‘Land acquisition is more important’,” a distraught Hong said.
Local police officials and police said no negotiations were taking place over the family’s property nor was it being targeted by developers.
“There’s no demolition. Yes, the girl died. But she was accidentally killed by the bulldozer when they were flattening the adjacent land as she sneaked into the building site and played there,” an official at the Zhangpu district office said on condition of anonymity.
Forced land grabs are common in China to clear a path towards urbanization at breakneck pace.
Although regulations to protect land rights have been put in place, entire villages have been forcibly uprooted to make way for industry and housing developments, at the cost of human lives.
by Maesie Bertumen