Two Christians Hospitalized in China After Protest Turns Violent
Diocese land deal protest turns violent: Security guard’s beating hospitalizes 60-year-old
ICC Note: Two Catholic parishioners in China were hospitalized after being attacked by security guards during a protest over a new land development. Christians involved in the case are reporting the company that purchased some of the parishioners’ land for development has yet to pay for the property, even as construction on the land begins.
01/29/2013 China (UCAN) -A dispute over land revenue between parishioners in Leshan city and a local construction firm turned violent on Monday, with two parishioners hospitalized.
About 100 protesters gathered on Monday afternoon and early Tuesday morning outside a construction site to demand that the Renshou Sanyou Company pay money owed to the diocese for land that was sold to build a residential complex.
Protesters said the company had ignored previous demands for payment and tried to disperse them by sending out a security guard, who allegedly threw bricks and assaulted several in the crowd.
Two parishioners are now in the hospital, with one – a woman in her 60s – in critical condition, according to protesters.
Father Joseph Tong Hengjiu, who supervised the land deal with Renshou Sanyou, told ucanews.com that the local government had given Leshan diocese more than 13,333 sq ms of land to build its new bishop’s house.
The diocese used a quarter of the allotted land and sold the remainder to Renshou Sanyou for 58 million yuan (US$9.3 million). The company agreed to pay the amount by August 2011 but postponed the due date until May last year following mediation by the city government.
Fr Tong said payment has still not been received, though the company has pressed ahead with its residential project, one building of which was due to be handed over to buyers on Tuesday.
“They will earn hundreds of millions of yuan, but they are unwilling to pay what they owe our diocese,” he said, adding that the diocese’s own construction plans had to be halted for lack of funds.