Three Gorges Probe

Three Gorges migrants protest detentions, unfair treatment

Three Gorges Probe

April 20, 2001

Following the arrests of four Three Gorges migrants last month, another five have risked their lives submitting a letter to China’s Communist Party leaders, in which they protest unfair treatment and appeal for justice.

Editor’s Note: Five Three Gorges migrants have risked their lives to submit the following letter to China’s Communist Party leaders, who they trust, in order to express their dissatisfaction with the government’s treatment of migrants and to seek justice. The five wrote this letter after Yunyang County officials used police force to detain four migrant leaders and announced that they would not accept responsibility for migrants’ resettlement unless protesting migrants signed contracts to resettle outside the reservoir area (officially known as “distant resettlement”). Despite this threat, and because of unfair compensation and lack of transparency in the resettlement operation, more than 800 people in Yunyang County have refused to register for distant resettlement.

March 22, 2001

Dear beloved leader comrades of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party:

We are local people from Gaoyang village, Gaoyang township, Yunyang County, in the Three Gorges reservoir area. We are jointly writing to you, appealing to you for help and asking for a clear response.

We want to know exactly what the compensation standards determined by the Three Gorges Project Construction Committee are. Also, can you explain why local governments act brutally and wickedly by forcing their residents to move without complying with the resettlement rules and regulations promulgated by the Central Government?

Yunyang County recently dispatched between 30 to 40 police to catch one of our representatives, He Kechang, who was arrested and his house ransacked. Wen Dingchun, Jiang Qingshan and Ran Chongxin, three other petitioners on our behalf, were also arrested by police this month. All of these migrant representatives were openly humiliated on television broadcasts.

We are appealing to the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party to investigate this case and to uphold justice for them. Yunyang County issued a warning that our displaced migrant status would be cancelled if we did not agree to leave the reservoir area right away. Under the authority of Huang Bo and Xiao, secretaries of the Chinese Communist Party of Yunyang County, a workforce team has been trying to force us to leave, household by household, since March 7, 2001. Those who are wealthier than we are have already registered as distant migrants, but we poorer people have insufficient funding to move. How can we maintain our current living standards with just 8,500 yuan (US$1,050) per head? We are even unable to build our new houses in the resettlement regions. How can we survive if displaced?

Two groups of people are being treated unfairly. The first group includes those who have the ability to enter both the industrial and service sectors and to start self-employed businesses, but are not being allowed to register as self-employed settlers. The second group includes those who have friends and relatives outside the reservoir area that they choose to live with, and who are prepared to forfeit their right to work. Why are they not permitted to do so and required to engage in agricultural activities instead? In contrast, why is it peasants living on the outskirts of Beijing and Tianjin can sell their land and become urban residents?

Now there is only one thing left for us to do: to appeal to the leaders of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party for help. If this situation is allowed to continue, we will become refugees, which will bring disgrace upon our country. Therefore, we sincerely plead with you leaders for a timely settlement to this matter.

Best regards,
Signed by
Ran Yinan, Wang Anxiu, Wang Wanqun, Xia Guangyu, Zun Xiuming

Categories: Three Gorges Probe

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