China / Society

Authorities deny homicide in Yunnan land expropriation

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-03-20 17:31

KUNMING - Authorities in a southwest Chinese city have confirmed the death of a woman in a land expropriation dispute, but refuted rumors that it was an act of intentional homicide.

Various media outlets reported that a person was crushed to death under an excavator on Monday morning in a construction site in Xuanwei City, Yunnan Province, inviting rumors that the person had been murdered by a real estate company that intended to start building on the land.

The local government said in a statement on Thursday night that the death of the woman, named Kong Fenlian, was an accident, as the driver did not notice her when he started the engine.

According to the statement, the land on Xining Street was contracted by the city government to the real estate company in 2012. Kong and her mother-in-law, who both owned some of the land, were unsatisfied with the compensation offered to them for its expropriation, and took turns to prevent construction by living in a makeshift shack on the site.

Kong was killed right after the company and lawyers had concluded a formal negotiation process with her and two other people on Monday, the statement said.

It added that further investigation is under way.

The topic is a subject of much discussion online, drawing more than 149,000 comments on web portal as of 3.30 p.m. on Friday. Many people are unconvinced by the government's claims.

"Why was an excavator already on site when they had not reached an agreement?" asked one user.

Disputes over land expropriation and house demolition have made many headlines in China in recent years. On Thursday, a court in east China's Shandong Province sentenced one person to death and two others to life in prison over a fatal arson attack that was triggered by a land dispute.

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