In the last three years, the pace of forced evictions in China has accelerated. The country's rapid rate of urbanization – unprecedented in history – and the pursuit of profit above all else, have driven millions of Chinese people from their homes.
Evictions are increasingly violent, with people being harassed, beaten and sometimes killed for daring to resist. The scale of abuses committed by the state authorities and developers in the course of such evictions is vast, with the state consistently failing to respect, protect and fulfil the right to adequate housing for the millions affected. Forced evictions account for the most significant source of discontent in the country.
But voicing that discontent is not easy. Residents have little recourse if they feel their rights have been violated. Their efforts to appeal, whether through the courts or government agencies, are routinely blocked and sometimes result in imprisonment. In desperation, some evictees have set themselves on fire in protest.
By documenting the risks and dangers Chinese people face in trying to protect their homes and farmland, this report offers a glimpse into the challenges facing China. The struggle for people to protect their homes is also their struggle for justice, equality and a say in the future of their country.