China punishes 17 officials for village clash

AP News
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Posted: Oct 23, 2014 9:11 AM

BEIJING (AP) — Seventeen officials have been punished in southwest China after one of the most violent land conflicts in recent years left eight people dead.

The official Xinhua News Agency said Thursday that one official involved in the clash between villagers and construction workers on October 14 has been arrested. The other 16 have been punished for neglect of duty.

The clash centered on a standoff between villagers and a property developer. Authorities previously said villagers detained several construction workers and burned four of them to death. Two other workers and two villagers also died.

Land disputes are common in China. The government technically owns most land and can seize property for projects deemed in the public interest. Villagers, left with no means to seek redress, often resort to violence.