Beijie Village: a Land Grab Case, a Village Election, and a Microcosm of China

China Change

By Yaqiu Wang, published: December 16, 2014

An election in a heartland Chinese village in Henan province, held on December 13th, attracted attention from Chinese scholars, netizens and activists. A 73-year-old man, Chen Ji’en (陈纪恩), was re-elected Chairman of the 8th Village Committee of Beijie Village (北街村) by fellow villagers in what was reported by observers as a fair and free election. Chen was respected, popular, even considered a hero, due in no small part to his leadership during the past eight years as Beijie villagers fought to resist property developers from building commercial real estate projects on the farmland they owned. But Chen Ji’en is unpopular with the local government, and the local government is attempting to deny the election result.

Chen Ji'en (right) holding a copy of China's Constitution, and Xiong Wei. Chen Ji’en (right) holding a copy of China’s Constitution, and Xiong Wei. Click to enlarge (credit: @tufuwugan)

The troubles for the people of Beijie began…

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