In one of the most violent land conflicts in China in recent years, villagers in a bitter standoff with a property developer in Yunnan province burned four construction workers to death in a clash that left a total of eight people dead, Associated Press reported Thursday.
The incident in Fuyou village near the provincial capital Kunming is said to have stemmed from a dispute over land compensation. Villagers complained about low payments for land seized for a warehouse and logistics centre, a major project backed by the local government.
Villagers detained eight construction workers on Tuesday when the developer attempted to restart work on the site, the local government was quoted as saying in a statement.
The villagers then bound the workers’ hands and feet, beat them up, and poured petrol on them before throwing them onto a road near the construction site.
Villagers wielding improvised weapons later stormed the construction site and clashed violently with hired hands, according the statement.
The government said the villagers threw homemade petrol bombs and set fire to the petrol-drenched detainees. Four workers burned to death and two others died from unspecified injuries, it said.
Other media reports said the hired hands started the fray that also left two villagers dead, AP noted.
In its statement, the Kunming government made no reference to its role, but said the standoff between villagers and the developer had delayed the project since May.
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