Some villagers in Xingtang, Hebei Province, China, are complaining about the forced destruction of their soon-to-ripen wheat fields. The residents said it is to pave the way for constructing photovoltaic power plants.
Residents have shared their stories with mainland media “Upstream News.” They said that in April, a construction team consisting of dozens of people forcibly leveled more than 16 acres of wheat fields. This area is about 12 football fields. Residents tried to defend their fields but could not. At present, construction of the power plant has begun in their flattened fields.
Talking about the incident, villagers recalled that some people came to the village last year, saying they would occupy the contracted land to build a photovoltaic power generation project.
In April, the construction project staff came and mobilized the villagers to hand over the land. They said they would remove the well-growing wheat fields to build photovoltaic (PV) power plants. Some villagers refused.
A villager with two acres of the land told Upstream News that less than one-third of the people in the village were willing to sign lease contracts.
Several residents confirmed that the local authorities had been publicizing the news of the power plant construction since last year.
Some residents said that the local government used loudspeakers to announce that someone was willing to sign the contract. However, the residents said that they were not willing to do so. They wanted to grow food on their land, to have something to eat. The residents pointed out that most residents did not sign the contract. Not many people signed it.
Villagers believed that the loudspeakers event showed that the local authority was somehow involved in the forced land acquisition.
Meanwhile, the villagers also told Upstream News that some farmers had only signed the land lease contracts after being threatened. They did not sign it willingly.
Villagers said it was very distressing to see all the wheat about to ripen flattened by the construction team. One villager said the wheat had already bloomed and would be harvested in about a month. But, construction staff forcibly leveled it with machines. During the land occupation conflict, three local people were injured.
After being forcibly leveled, this video shows the flattened wheat fields and the PV power plant construction.
This incident of farmland being destroyed in forced land acquisition is not unique. For a long time, the issue of forced land acquisition under Beijing’s rule has frequently occurred, causing a large number of disputes over rights protection.
For example, on May 7, the government of Yuanshi County, Hebei province, confirmed a case of land acquisition and damage to wheat fields by real estate developers. At the end of April, the project side conducted the compulsory land acquisition, leading to the crushing and uprooting of the soon-to-mature wheat fields.
And on May 14, villagers in the western suburbs of Yindu District, Anyang City, Henan Province, complained that a gas pipeline laid by a company had destroyed their soon-to-ripen wheat. The damaged area spans more than 1.6 acres, which is a bit larger than a football field.