Chinese Death Pact: Hunan Province Farmers Pledge To Die Before Allowing Government To Illegally Seize Land [VIDEO]

By Philip Ross on July 29, 2013 3:48 PM EDT

death pact china
A Chinese death pact was signed by almost 100 rural farmers in central China as protest against illegal government land seizures. Pictured, a propaganda sign adorning houses in the distance reads "Make a contribution to the South North water transfer scheme and migrate and settle down to boost development" can be seen as angry villagers walk behind a village official in Henan province Feb. 2009. (Photo: Reuters)

A Chinese death pact was signed by 100 farmers in China's central Hunan province. The villagers pledged to defend their land against government officials looking to forcefully seize their farms and sell the land to real estate developers. The Chinese death pact, signed with red thumbprints, promises that anyone who resists eviction will be rewarded.

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Business Insider reports that land seizures have become increasingly frequent in China, where urbanization is rapidly occurring. Clashes between rural villagers and the government have become violent, as angry farmers have begun to stand up to the henchmen the government hires to kick people off their land. The Chinese death pact follows years of government officials driving rural people from their homes. The people are hardly ever warned, are often attacked, and are not compensated for their land.

In one of the most gruesome incidents of violence sparked by illegal land seizures, a 44-year-old farmer in Hubei province was crushed by the driver of a cement mixer during a protest against forced evictions, The Daily Telegraph reports.

"If they come and try to take our land, we will defend it with our lives," Liu Jinbao, a village representative and one of the document's signatories told The Daily Telegraph. "We have been told that if we try to fight for the land they might employ some mafia-style techniques and beat us up. So we have signed the document, to present a more united front."

The Chinese death pact promises a "grand burial" for any farmer who is killed while defending their turf. It also says that anyone who is injured or jailed will have their medical fees covered and receive a monthly stipend of 6,000 Yuan, or about $978 USD, although it's unclear where exactly the stipend would come from.

Al Jazeera reports on the protests in China against the government in this video uploaded to YouTube last year:

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