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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 July, 2005, 06:59 GMT 07:59 UK
Chinese riot farmers regain land
Footage of the clashes in the Chinese village

Chinese farmers have won a dispute over land rights which culminated in a bloody riot last month in the northern province of Hebei, state media says.

The June clashes, in which six people died, were filmed by a local and given widespread publicity abroad.

Farmers in Shengyou village, northern Hebei province, were angry they had not been compensated for land proposed for a power plant's ash storage yard.

Now, the yard will be built in a place where it will take less arable land.

"[Because] Shengyou village, the originally proposed site of the power plant's ash storage yard, has a big population but relatively little land, the Hebei provincial government... has now made a decision not to requisition land from that village," Xinhua state news agency reported.

Dramatic footage handed to The Washington Post in June showed local farmers fighting a pitched battle with dozens of unidentified men wearing camouflage gear and construction helmets wielding hunting rifles and clubs.


Police have since arrested 31 people and detained another 131 involved in the incident, Xinhua said.

Violent disputes like this one are common in China, where competition for useable land is fierce.

On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that farmers in eastern Zhejiang province had forced a pharmaceutical plant to halt activity in a row over pollution.

A factory official told the Associated Press news agency that government officials were negotiating with the farmers.

The eviction of local people to make way for new developments is becoming one of the country's sharpest social issues, says a BBC correspondent in Beijing, Daniel Griffiths.


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