Villagers publicly humiliated in general assembly for obstructing government construction

| November 11th, 2010

Recently Hanbin District local government in Shaanxi Province held the public general assembly to demonstrate the criminal acts of 17 villagers for obstructing the government constructions.  Each criminal had a white cardboard hanging from their necks, with his/her name and crime written on it…  This news triggered some talks on the net.

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Frist the news posted on most major media sites:

November 2, 2010, Hanbin District Government, Ankang City, Shaanxi Province held a public general assembly. 17 villagers who obstructed the important construction project were held in criminal custody. The police said the public security authorities will crack down on criminals who threaten the construction company in order to meet their personal desires and to demand for reasonable high amount of compensation. (Pictures from CFP)

According to chief of branch police station Gu King, October 31, the police received a report that the construction site for the new freeway was taken over by over 50 villagers. No vehicles could pass. The police tried to persuade the villagers electing an spokesperson to negotiate with the construction company. However villagers snatched away and destroyed the video camera polices had brought in, in order to record the situation at the time. The police booked the villager who stanched the camera, but the villagers at the scene began to retaliate, some people were yelling, even pushing and shoving the police. Soon after, 40 additional police rushed to the site. Eventually, 9 villagers were arrested as suspects of obstructing construction.

Ankang Municipal Public Security Bureau deputy director, deputy head of Hanbin District Government Yang Peng sated that anyone or organized forces who obstruct the construction work, and by any means forcefully demand so called “protection fees”, “management fees”, “tolls” and so on criminal acts; who riot at the construction site, smashing, looting, burning and assaulting, verbally abusing the construction workers and staff members are subjected to be cracked down by the authorities. The acts of turning off water and electricity, roadblocks, illegal gathering and inciting disturbances etc. that interfere with the process of construction and building, and also the person plans behind the incident, hidden instigators will be severally punished according to the law.

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Many Chinese bloggers responded to this news:

From Wuhaibuo’s blog:

At first glance, I was startled.  Felt like I am back to when I was 7 or 8 years old,  in the last century, in the 70s. the scene of the struggle against the rich and evil landlords.  In the picture, the 17 villagers who have cardboard hanging on their necks, dressed in ragged clothing, one of the woman didn’t even have socks on.  I looked closely, these people probably have no education, no money, and of course no guanxi (connections).  behind them, are the powerful and masculine policemen, but the signs on their necks all have the word “Suspect” clearly written on…

China of the twenty-first century , we are progressing in both  legal civilization and political civilization.  Such picture is certainly going backward in history, to publicly humiliate the disadvantaged peasants, is itself a crime.

From candylulu007’s blog:

No matter what, even if the villagers are suspects of criminals, we should not treat them this way. Where are people’s rights?  Where are citizens’ privacy?  Want to kill the chicken to scare the monkeys? in the end it will only back fire! Lead to more conflicts between the government and the public. Is this kind of enforcement convincing?

From Jieni’s blog:

If they are suspected of crimes, then they should be tried with dignity by the law.  Fair trial, which is the basic rights “the Constitution” gives every citizen.  Any individual or organization have no right to bully and insult anyone in public. Government of Hanbin District, Ankang City, Shaanxi Province publicly humiliated the villagers who were just exercising their rights.  It’s the act of “killing the chicken to scare the monkeys”, showing off their power and arrogance, it is extremely despicable and shameful.  The gangster logic, rogue acts should be tried by the law.

– Jieni

48 Comments | Leave a comment | Comment feed

  1. golf trolley says:

    China of the twenty-first century , we are progressing in both legal civilization and political civilization. Such picture is certainly going backward in history, to publicly humiliate the disadvantaged peasants, is itself a crime.
    Actually, when I see these news, I was about to cry. I am a Chinese, and when I was still in my university, I am so proud of being a Chinese. But now, I am a little bit sorrow. After the Ligang affairs, after the public of thousands of mine accidents, after the silence of government, after the “protection of Diaoyu Islands”, I find that the world is crazy. The society is just like the coldest monster who has a most gentle face to Chinese people. We are desperate, yet we can have no choose except ignore. My heart is really pain when I note down those words.

  2. Crystal says:

    This is not how I want my country to look like 🙁

    • Mark says:

      Both the actions of the Police and the Villagers are symptoms of a weak civil society. The villagers actions were a sign of despair, powerlessness, and total contempt for the higher powers in their area. Mob action is a symbol of a disconnect between the government and the governed.

      Also, the draconian public display by the police looks like an act of desperation, and also shows a strong division between the police and the public. Such actions were used during the cultural revolution because it was perceived that their were counter revolutionary enemies of the state amongst the people. The question is who are the enemies now?

      • ChengFeng says:

        These people are the enemy they stand in the way of development, they put their own selfish interest before the interest of country and party. China must step into the next century as the leading power, to stand against US imperialists and anti-China forces. People who make a racket about “rights” and civil society try only to undermine China government and society. Do these people maybe want to move to US instead, the country of anti-China racism and intolerance? No.

        Chinese people of the country must learn to put interests of party leaders and country before their own.

  3. Alleycat says:

    It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow beings.

    • Kobe says:

      LOL, This is like that Delaware t-shirt punishment thingy. They think it works? What a joke.

    • WiseOwl says:

      Always look at human behavior through the lens of evolution. In this case, by humiliating and controlling other humans, you are gaining power over them. This power gives you more wealth, status, resources, and more women to sleep with, which means you’ll be passing on your genes to more children. And your children will repeat this cycle as well.
      Mystery solved.

  4. Eason says:

    God forbid the peasants feel even for a day that they are anything but.

  5. Eason says:

    Sorry to comment twice in a row but this is really disgusting. 丢了他们的国家的脸.

  6. Jc.yin says:

    To all of those apologizing Chinese commentators on this page, stop and think for one moment. A country governed by the harshest and most brutal law is much better than a country governed by the people. Look at india, they have all of these unions, syndicates and human rights laws and yet what have they accomplished in these last 30 years? Human spider workers, humans riding ontop of trains during rush hour, the worlds largest slum, whole villages eating mud because central authorities refuse food delivery, roads not being built, railways not being built, hospitals with no staff, medieval caste system where lower down members can never advance even if they have guanxi. All of these problems and much more arise not because the indians are lazy or due to their genes but because their law grants their citizens too much freedom! Without our countrie’s brutal, draconian laws in place, we would also be in the same position as them, classified as a third world nation rife with third world problems and no accomplishments to show apart from a large population. Never able to build whatsoever because different groups are allowed to protest and demonstrate at will.

    • Alleycat says:

      That’s a bit weird. I always assumed India has recently witnessed unprecedented levels of economic expansion, along with countries like China, Russia, and Brazil.
      I must have been misinformed.

      • Crystal says:

        I actually read exactly the same with the exception of Russia, though.

      • S.K. Cheung says:

        You’re right. They’re referred to as “BRIC” for a reason.

      • Vince says:

        you were not misinformed 🙂

        • Voice of China says:

          I presume India is experiencing high growth rates, primarily in line with the flying geese paradigm. However that say’s very little about their standard of living.

          As much as China still faces extreme issue of income inequality and inadequate social welfare structures in rural areas, the position in India is much more serious.

          When uninformed foreigners think of China, they think about communism, peasants wearing straw hats. When they think of India, they think of malnourished kids on the street eating curry mixed with dirt and corpses in the river.

          I have a few Indian friends and from what I’ve heard from them, India is fairly modern. I gave them the benefit of the doubt and presumed that it was maybe like Beijing or Guangzhou.

          That is until I come across:

          http://www.chinasmack.com/2010/pictures/filthy-india-photos-chinese-netizen-reactions.html

          Now, even in the dirtiest remote areas in China, I don’t think its culturally accepted to use our hands to wipe our ass, or to fish, wash and drink from corpse polluted waters and have farm animals roaming the street. Let alone having medical centers in tents.

          India is not even a regional power let alone on the road to be a super power. Forget about the notion of hosting the Olympics or the Asian Games. One only has to look at how well the Commonwealth Games and the fact that some countries refused to send their team due to ‘safety risks’ to see how much India has to go before reaching the level of China.

          The only thing that is comparable between the two countries is that they both rose from some form of colonialism and oppression, and have a similar sized population. What Yin is pointing out is how the superiority of socialism clearly reflects in the current economic status of the two countries.

          Oh, and Alley Cat (you cheeky dumbass), Brazil is pretty much the worse country you can put as a shining example of what China could have been with democracy. Using Brazil as an example is like getting a ten inch metal crowbar, shoving it in your ass and twisting it so hard that it comes out through your ball sac.

          Why? because the ‘rule of law’ is practically non-existent in that piece of shit country. Yes, I am mentioning the ‘rule of law’ and I can link you to many academic journal articles that unilaterally support that judgment. So once again Alleycat, you retarded dumbass, time to hide back to your deluded fantasy world and start jacking off to your imaginary girlfriend.

          • Voice of China says:

            Correction: one only has to look at how well the Commonwealth Games *went*

          • Mark says:

            Nice choice Chinese water polluted with industrial toxins and heavy metals or Indian water polluted with rotting corpses and human sewage.

          • Westiseast says:

            hold on…

            “safety risks at Commonwealth games in India…” – yeah, whereas in China, the only people at risk because of the games were native Chinese people, being forced out of their homes to make way for construction.

            Corpse polluted rivers? I’ve travelled through China’s countryside and seen children playing in a river, downstream from where farmers are slaughtering animals and dumping trash-cans into the same river. What’s the difference?

            Yeah, perhaps China doesn’t have people wiping their ass with their hands…but every day I still see someone pissing/shitting in the street without bothering to wipe their ass, in the centre of a major city in China. Is this the proud level of civilisation you’re defending?

            Rule of law? India has huge problems with bribery and corruption, but they are able to have a public debate about it. China is also one of the most corrupt countries in the world, but where’s the public debate?

            China’s worst aspects are every bit as shit and 3rd world as India, and don’t try to paint some bullshit picture that China is somehow ‘more civilised’ than India based on some sensationalised pictures you saw on China Smack and your own inflated sense of national pride….

    • che says:

      economic progress at the expense of environment degradation and infringement on human’s basic rights? come on, this sort of public humiliation is simply futile, like going against a brink of water and certainly it will stir up anti government feelings. you are just naive to think that you would rather give up your freedom and basic rights to the goverment.
      and by the way, that is really rude to say that indians are lazy due to their genes. by the way do you know that they are moving up the value added ladder in manufacturing higher end electronics goods and providing technical advices? obviously they are more advanced than china’s state of still manufacturing low end goods. not to say that that is a bad thing, but yes the world has got to thank you guys for providing us the cheap deals – at the expense of our health. sometimes i dont get how mainland chinese can get all cocked up in their mind and all they can ever think abt it profits, profits profits… the milk scandal is a classic example and also using lead tinted paint for young children? and china water bodies are basically not even drinkable at all! the pictures uploaded on this website showed really disturbing pictures of chemicals dumps by factories into the river. now, what has your government done anything about it?
      okay back to main point, china people do not know what they are missing out. you are just in your own well deceived by what your government feeds you. ignorance is the word.

    • Huzhang says:

      Revive Qin dynasty style legalism! I’m not even kidding.

    • moody says:

      Surely a country governed as you would lead a company with no labor laws can accomplish more than a Democracy, no doubt there
      But you are missing the whole point
      India is a largest democracy, that status force respect

      Now you can point out all the misery of India
      what about the misery of China ?
      What about those who don’t have Guanxi, those who struggle to survive, evicted, robed of their possessions ?
      I am sure it all happen too in India, but at least they have the law on their side

      “medieval caste system where lower down members can never advance even if they have guanxi”
      Because you really think that mainland Chinese with no power or money can have Guanxi ?
      what a stupid thing to say

    • moody says:

      It’s easy to praise success when you are on the succesfull end

      In a democracy, your voice is as loud as the one of some random farmer in some random province
      But maybe it s not what you want

    • S.K. Cheung says:

      One question might be whether “brutal draconian laws” are a prerequisite to economic progress. I agree it is imperative to “build stuff” as part of economic progress/expansion. So it’s not a dichotomy of “build” vs “not build”. The question is one of striking a balance between building to maximize the greater good, while minimizing the sacrifices of individuals. Admittedly, “brutal draconian laws” are absolutely first-rate when it comes to fulfilling the former (assuming, of course, that those who wield such laws do in fact have the greater good in mind…which in and of itself is a substantial assumption). However, such laws, and the folks who wield them, are much less competent at being mindful of the latter.

      So absolutely, build where and when it is required and beneficial. Prosecute those who pursue illegal avenues to try to derail such construction. But a civilized society should tolerate a civilized display of disagreement. And a civilized society doesn’t do the government-sanctioned public shaming displays like we see here. So as China under the CCP continues to build in the bricks-and-mortar realm, she also should consider some renovations in the civility of her society.

    • Vince says:

      Ah haha seriously u have little to no idea what you are talking about, the difference here is that india doesn’t try to hide its problems by putting on a facade of tranquility and order. Being controlled in such an oppressive manner is what humans might do to animals, freedom is a basic human right. You must really have the wool over your eyes, the problems with india are not due to the fact that people have freedom, it is most definitely due to the fact that the goverment is one of the most corrupt in the world, do u see where your mistake is? I wonder if u know that china is second only to Iran regarding the number of executions carried out in a year? A country is capable of being both organized as well as sympathetic to its citizens, you really lack the ability to empathize with these villagers, put urself in their shoes first before you spout nonsense that supports this violation of human rights.

      • keius says:

        Way off on the executions. Iran’s executions numbered around 400+ iirc. China has no official number BUT the estimates are somewhere between 2000 and 10,000. Per Capita, Iran is probably number 1, but we aren’t counting places like North Korea where EVERYONE expects executions to be much higher.

        Gotta give these countries one thing. They keep the executions cheap. Now if we look at the US and our messed up prison system, the costs to imprison one person, and then the fact that it costs us 1million+ US dollars to execute a single individual….

    • john digmeme says:

      Corruption can wreak havoc on a country. Places where democracy works, and corruption is punished harshly sit at the top of the list of the worlds most livable places.

      India has a deep, intricate culture that is hard for anyone not Indian to decipher without a lot of experience. One aspect of this culture is the offering of “Baksish” or a bribe, to get anything done at all. That’s just the way business is done in India, choose to accept it or don’t. Again, bribery and corruption are just part of the culture; so, uh, you might not want to compare India to Switzerland anytime soon. Good effort though, ignorant and naive maybe, but a good effort nonetheless.

      • john digmeme says:

        I probably shouldn’t have used corruption as the example for why India is less developed, since China has its guanxi and is obviously equally corrupt; but, it explains each of the racist points you made. Neither nation will ever be a ‘Switzerland’ with the levels of corruption in both countries.

        To Compare any country as an apple to an apple, or extrapolate the democracy experienced in a western country when talking about a country like India is pretty effing simple minded, man. They produce, as a nation/race, some of the best and brightest minds on the planet, yet India is still the way it is. Doesn’t it seem kind of odd to you? Doesn’t it seem quite odd how successful Indians are when you take them out of India?

    • Miller says:

      I believe the prosperity in China has less to do with “brutal, draconian law” and more to do with organizing the work force and providing incentive through the opening of relative free market capitalism. On top of that, China has become rich by exporting cheaply made goods created with cheap labor.

      I wouldn’t call Chinese law “brutal” and “draconian.” The rule of law is rather weak between central and local governments, both of whom use laws selectively. This results in events like the one in the article, which itself is a brutal and draconian act.

      In fact, China, in some cases, itself suffers from “too much freedom.” Take traffic, for example. I’ve lived in Shanghai and another smaller city in China and in both cities I have not seen any enforcement of traffic laws, with two exceptions. The first being a car parked on the sidewalk in a busy shopping district in Shanghai, which was given a ticket. The second was in the other city were periodically police would ask e-bike riders carrying a passenger to leave the passenger. Of course, they went about a block and got back on. This results in dangerous, chaotic behavior by drivers, bike riders, and pedestrians.

      A government of the people moves slower than an authoritarian government. But I don’t think India’s problems are a result of them having a democracy.

    • ChengFeng says:

      Agreed no country has developed as a Democracy. Democracy does not work with economic development, only the Chinese model works. If at all, China has been too lax with protesters and country peoples, there must be harsh law other we risk become like India. These people should be executed.

  7. Jeff TV says:

    Too bad there’s no background story. How am I to assess whether the villagers demands were reasonable or not? Just because they opposed the Chinese authorities it must have been reasonable?

    As for the punishment chosen, it’s very childish and probably useless, but not exactly harmful. Many western countries know a system where smaller crimes are punished without a proper trial.

    • Tony D says:

      Well, if some other construction stories are anything to go by, I bet the backstory is that they’re guilty of the terrible crime of trying to stop bulldozers from smashing down their homes…

      • Neirda says:

        Not that I defend any side, and even less the ridiculous idea of public humiliation, but I’ve read they were speculating their unused land, trying to get more money from it. To what extent, I don’t know though.

    • Vince says:

      Construction companies in china are very oppressive when it comes to getting what they want and they will do anything to get it. I’m sure that these villagers have been given bare minimum compensation, that is without taking into account the change made to their way of life, i.e relocation to another area, assimilation into that society. It’s truly mind boggling to think how callous these companies can be.

  8. Hm… it appears that for some local governments – the old methods are still the best. Interesting crack about, “the villagers took away the police video cameras,” even money it was just the opposite.

    Will other local governments start using some of these old tactics of shame to keep the ‘sheep in the flock’? These tactics could also be used to keep migrants from wandering – especially if photos of the people shamed are circulated amongst those that hire migrants.

  9. schveenietodd says:

    Shades of the anti-revolutionary revisionist parades during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, as portrayed in Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1987 The Last Emperor:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EincWbFAyM&feature=related

    Except the current Hu Jintao regime would be shamed and cast out as running dog capitalist roader lackeys…

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/villagers-humiliated-for-obstructing-government-construction-2010-11#ixzz14yVdWOR1

  10. o.m.g. says:

    that is a sad country

  11. John says:

    All this will do is make people angry and make them fight harder next time. Government corruption always gets caught in the end.

    Revolutions will keep coming and people will always keep fighting for justice.

    The government tries to humiliate these people by putting signs around their necks, and all it does is backfire and have more people taking the side of the villagers who are being screwed over by the government. I don’t have one ounce of disrespect for these people.

    THE HUMILIATION IS ON THE GOVERNMENT. THIS IS HUMILIATING FOR THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT. THEY HAVE LOST FACE. SHAME ON THEM.

  12. lay low moe says:

    the problem with China is
    they like to develop land where-ever they want without doing in-dept planning
    as everyone knows, if Chinese government want something, they will just take it
    for the farmers, probably angry because it was not provide a fair compensation to be re-alloate
    i guess humiliate the farmers is better than gunning them down, which i assumed the standard practice

  13. golf trolley says:

    I believe that China is not perfect. However, I even more sure that as to human rights, Korean definitely has no saying rights.

  14. elenore says:

    All governments forget to give the poor dignity.I grew up in a suburban middle class neighborhood.I got pregnant and married at 18,my husband 20.Me and my husband purchased a house,it was our choice,we had no pressure from our parents.In fact both our parents wanted us to live with them.The only house we could afford was in a poor to low middle class neighborhood.It sucked and was a shock.Most poor are not criminals or on Welfare they just get stuck having them in their neighborhoods.Their was a house with 25 migrants Hispanic workers that was condemned because they had 1 bathroom and started taking a dump in the yard and neighbors called the cops.Their were immigrants from everywhere most who had refugee status like some from Vietnam,Iraqis,Iranians,Koreans,(most were good people who didn’t understand what was going on)etc…Welfare programs will weight people children,have home visits to check on poor people receiving assistance,Headstart(preschool program) is because the government thinks poor people are to stupid to teach their children to read,landlords who own like 50 houses who don’t really care about who they rent to or the conditions of the homes or the renters criminal backgrounds,because they don’t live there.We moved when a drug dealer was shot at the park and a pedophile moved in behind us,neighbors called cops he wasn’t supposed to be there near a school or his own children who were some of his victims.I was lucky I asked my parents if I could live with them while I sold our house,which was the plan anyway.So I went from living between 8 and 9 mile to moving with my parents in Troy,Michigan.I don’t regret living there,both me and my husband were able to continue our education and pay our bills ourselves.But I feel for the people who are still stuck living there.Every time I hear politicians and the rich talk about prison releases and illegal immigrants I just think,you don’t have to live next door to them or compete with them for low wages.Poor people get treated like they are stupid or lazy by Social workers and others in Society(I kinda had some of those views as well till I moved and met poor working people).And if the poor save a little money to try and get out the government will either take their savings or deduct programs from them,if your income goes up so does your rent and you can’t afford to leave the ghetto,plus you can’t move to different areas on welfare.Welfare is a trap for so many people.And the job training they give them is for jobs that don’t pay much so they stay on Welfare,they also train more people than the job market needs so the wages go down for those jobs.That is why their are poor who won’t apply for assistance,they don’t want to rely on the government or get stuck in the Welfare trap and get belittled by the government workers.I still talk to some of our old neighbors,It’s even worse there now than before.And the unemployment is causing crime and Blight to get worse.That is why people are getting angry in the U.S. they want jobs not welfare.In hindsight I should have rent a 1 bedroom in better neighborhood,but my real estate father in law told us we pay the same but get equity with a house,he was right and we sold at the right time,however when your kids get to school age,you want them to live in a good area.But living there gave me a different out look on how people in poverty struggle,and me and my husband are proud that we worked and payed for ourselves and our family.

  15. Tim Budong says:

    This is the whole problem with modern China. The rule of law is SO important when it comes to protecting the rights of the uber-wealthy black car driving man. They pick and choose the rules that THEY like and utterly ignore rules they dislike.

  16. Peter says:

    The Cultural Revolution isn’t so long ago… 40 years… this kind of thing is pretty rare in China today, isn’t it? Let’s hope it stays that way! Then again, if there were a decent functioning legal system, this isn’t the worst way to punish people. It sure beats cattle prods or bullets in the back of the head.

  17. john digmeme says:

    I really wonder who gives the order to start these little parades of prostitutes and villagers. Police Chief? Judge? PLA Cadre? Li Gang?

  18. Anon says:

    That’s the revolution for you.

  19. Tucci says:

    Quite sad for me.
    Many Chinese doubt their goverment in the ability of conducting policies.The central goverment do make good laws and rules while in the carrying-out many rules are just neglected.Recent years have witnessed a number of demonstrations and riots against many low-class goverments who are in open defiance of the sacred laws.But we are now in the information age when many ugly things are unveiled easily and fewer and fewer can commit without costs of their own.I belive more freedom will soon land here out of the need for a better social environment of sustainable economy,which is what the central government value most.

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