Asia

China bomb attack kills four in suspected protest over development

Four people were killed when a man detonated a homemade bomb in a village government office in southern China, authorities said, in a rare act of violent social protest.

A 59-year-old man suspected of being responsible for the explosive device was also killed in the explosion, local police said on their official Weibo account, adding that five people were wounded in the blast.

The incident happened near the southern city of Guangzhou on Monday morning in the tiny village of Mingjing, which has about 3,000 residents and is the intended site of a major property redevelopment that involves relocating locals.

A video shared on news site Jiemian showed a destroyed office, with blood splattered on the walls and at least two people motionless on the ground.

Local media said the blast occurred at the village committee office, which decides on matters linked to land use.

Officials had given 270 acres of land to a developer in Shanghai last year to recreate an old village to attract tourists, according to Guangzhou Daily.

The eight-billion yuan ($1.2bn) project involves relocating farmers already on the land. Several people who claimed to be living near the area said online that the attack was triggered by a dispute over compensation.

AFP could not independently verify that the two are linked.

It is unclear how many families are to be relocated for the project.

Farmers in China have faced forced evictions and illicit land grabs for decades as the country raced to urbanise, frequently leading to social unrest.

Local governments have taken land from between one million and five million agricultural workers every year between 2005 to 2015 – often in violation of national land-use laws with little or no compensation – a study by the University of Hong Kong found.

In a major shake-up of its property law last year China gave judges greater independence when ruling on such issues and curbing the influence of local officials, but the judiciary is still ultimately answerable to the Communist party.

SOURCE