Chinese official kills farmer in row over forced land acquisition

A Chinese official fatally plowed over a farmer Sunday morning after the farmer protested the forced seizure of his land.

According to China Aid, a government employee in the coastal province of Shandong used a front loader to kill the farmer. Official reports then claimed the farmer died due to faulty operation of the machine.

Farmers look at a mural made of rice plants on a paddy field which forms into the shape of the emblem of Communist Party of China (CPC) and the number "2015", to celebrate the upcoming 94th anniversary of the founding of the party, in Ouyuan village of Loudi, Hunan province, China, June 28, 2015. | Reuters/Stringer

However, social media posts contradicted the Communist State's report and said that the landowner mauled the farmer who stood his ground to defy the construction of a road on a piece of land that the government seized from him.

"Is the government any different than bandits?" China Aid quoted one social media comment.

The government reportedly deleted all social media posts surrounding the incident.

Peng Shengbin, a local resident, said that the state also harassed protesters on March 7, 2014 after forcing them to relocate. He said the government's demolition team even kidnapped his wife on March 22, 2014.

"They kicked her and beat her," Peng said. "My wife kowtowed to them, saying 'Don't kill me! We don't have any money!' They grabbed her hair and shoved her against the car. Afterwards, they abducted my wife and took her to a hotel."

He added that the government did not respond to their repeated complaints and appeals.

Prof. Philip Alston, United Nations expert on human rights and extreme poverty, said at the end of his fact-finding trip to China that the state should recognize human rights in order to make real progress.

"China has much to be proud of in the field of poverty alleviation. However, if it is to effectively ensure the implementation of its economic and social rights obligations, it needs to adopt more robust mechanisms for citizen involvement and for governmental accountability," said Alston on Tuesday.

The UN expert mentioned in his report the nationwide crackdown on human rights lawyers last year and the convictions on some of them only recently, the inefficiency of petitioning officials, the restrictive laws on non-government organizations, and the punitive responses to protests.