Rocket firing farmer's kin thrashed

By Guo Rui and Wang Huazhong (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-07-01 07:28
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WUHAN - A farmer who recently made headlines for firing homemade rockets to expel demolition corps from his land returned to defend his farm on Wednesday, a day after four unidentified men assaulted his brother.

Rocket firing farmer's kin thrashed

Yang Youde, a farmer in Wuhan, capital of Central China’s Hubei province, provides a glimpse of the homemade rockets stored in his shed on June 6. [Provided to China Daily] 

Since February, Yang Youde, a 56-year-old farmer on the outskirts of Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei province, has twice fired rocket-like weapons at demolition teams who came to evict him from his property to make way for the construction of commercial buildings.

Yang told China Daily on Wednesday that he had asked his elder brother to guard his land while he was away filing a petition in court.

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"The four men must have mistaken him for me and attacked him around 7 am on Tuesday," he said.

"My brother said he was first punched. The assailants then pounced on him and smashed a brick on his head."

Yang's 60-year-old brother, Yang Yide, has been hospitalized with serious eye injuries.

He added that forensic doctors were assessing the degree of his injury.

Meanwhile, Yang Youde returned to his farmland to safeguard his property.

"I must hold on to my position and prevent any intrusion," said Yang, standing on an 8-meter-high tower, where his ammunition was piled up.

The police have warned him that the possession and use of any explosive is illegal.

Yang said the demolition corps harassed him a couple of times after his demand of 46,800 yuan ($6,900) per mu (0.07 hectare) in compensation for his 25 mu land was turned down.

He said the property developer was only willing to pay him 10,000 yuan per mu.

Yang leased the land from the local government and is its rightful owner until 2029. "Some farmers have died protecting their rights. Compared to them, we have just been injured," Yang said, adding that he would not give up.

Officials from the Wuhan Land Resources and Planning Bureau visited Yang's family in a bid to mediate the dispute, but Yang maintained he was not ready to accept any offer below his demand.

One of Yang's fellow villagers, surnamed Wang, said Yang's aggression might just win him more compensation for his land.

Yang said a Beijing lawyer named Wang Youyin has approached him and is ready to assist him take the case to court.