Police detain two for death in land protest

Updated: 2010-04-27 13:54
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ZHENGZHOU: Police have detained two men, including a village head, in connection with a probe into the death of a villager in a land compensation protest in central China.

Zhou Songyan, chief of the Communist Party of China in Zhoudian Village, Henan Province, and villager Guo Baoliang, were detained after a dump truck crushed Zhou Hongyan to death April 22.

An initial police investigation found the Party chief had asked Guo to deliberately run the truck at the 50-year-old victim, who was sitting behind the vehicle to protest unpaid compensation for land requisitioned for a road expansion, said Zhang Jianjun, head of the Weidu Police Station under the Public Security Bureau of Xuchang City, Tuesday.

The truck hit the victim twice. On the second occasion, it crushed him, said Zhou Shuming, a villager who witnessed the scene.

Zhou Hongyan was taken to hospital, but doctors failed to save him.

The witness said Guo dragged the truck driver from the vehicle's cabin when he saw Zhou Hongyan obstructing the development. Incited by Zhou Songyan, he jumped into the vehicle and hit Zhou Hongyan.

The road expansion in two phases began in 1999, said Yuan Feng, Party chief of Wunudian Township, which administers the village, Tuesday.

"The dead villager was protesting for land compensation of 60,000 yuan (about 8,823 U.S.Dollars), which was promised by 1999, but the village head (Zhou Songyan) failed to give the money to villagers," said Yuan.

Yuan said compensation for the second phase land requisitions was worth 700,000 yuan and had been allocated to local villagers.

The dead villager had hoped that his protest could push Zhou Songyan to pay the compensation due in 1999, said Yuan.

Police are continuing their investigation into the death.