Vietnam: Prison Sentences Imposed on Farmers for Protesting Land Grab

[Nearly 40 years after the defeat of the US in Vietnam, the faux “socialist” regime has continued semi-feudal relations amidst a very corrupt capitalist regime.  The long struggle of the Vietnamese people continues under these exploitive and repressive conditions today.  —  Frontlines ed.]

SEPTEMBER 20, 2014

Can Thi Theu

VNRN – Three land activists from Duong Noi [Dương Nội], a village in suburban Hanoi mostly known for its long-standing land disputes, on Friday appeared before the Ha Dong People’s Court. While they were on trial, dozens of their supporters were barred from approaching the courtroom; many were temporarily arrested, including their family members.

Mrs. Can Thi Theu [Cấn Thị Thêu], 52, and her husband, Trinh Ba Khiem [Trịnh Bá Khiêm], 56, were given 15 and 18 months of imprisionment respectively for “resisting persons in the performance of their official duties” under Article 257 of the Penal Code. The third accused, Mr. Le Van Thanh [Lê Văn Thanh], was sentenced to 12 months in prison.

The three were arrested after a land grab on April 25. Mrs. Can Thi Theu was reportedly shooting a video footage of the eviction where her husband and other farmers got beaten by police forces. The police then tried to stop her by allegedly giving her anaesthetic before taking her away. The video clip, spread subsequently on Facebook, showed a violent conflict between the farmers of Duong Noi and foreces of police and social order defenders. Continue reading

The global rush to grab land and other resources

[The basic law of capitalism is “expand or die” — and quickly so, as the threat of being crushed or swallowed by competing exploiters also grows without a break.  Maximizing profits through ruthless exploitation of labor, manipulation of trade, and wholesale plunder of resources, all drive at immediate returns, and threaten and cause the destruction of the long-term survival of peoples across the planet. The article below details how the inherent malevolence of the capitalist-imperialist system, is driving billions of people in despair and into struggle against it.  — Frontlines ed.]

25 February 2013. A World to Win News Service. The planet is facing a serious food crisis. The unsustainable use of resources, from the land to the sea, due to the violent rush for profit, poses a great threat to humanity and the planet. But rivalry for control of food production and distribution under the profit-driven capitalist system is still sharpening, taking new forms and causing greater misery for the world’s people. The land-grab going on in Africa and other parts of the world is part of this trend.

Africa, whose people were kidnapped by the millions for the slave trade and ground down and bled under colonialism and since, a continent whose resources has been sacked for centuries and which has suffered so much from wars spurred by big-power rivalry, faces a new form of looting today. Corporations, private banks, pension funds and many multinational companies have grabbed fertile land all over the continent. With the connivance of corrupt and client governments dependent on foreign investment, they have secured long leases by paying as little as half a U.S. dollar per hectare per year.

Although this kind of land acquisition is far from new, there has been a spectacular jump since 2008. In the following year, investors bought or leased more than 56 million hectares in Asia, Latin America and especially Africa, roughly 15 times more land that the yearly average in the preceding half century. (Farah Stockman, Boston Globe, 24 February 2013) Continue reading

Residents protest against power plant in another South China town

Teargas fired at Chinese protesters in Haimen

Chinese riot police break up protest against a planned power station as state media step up the propaganda war

Villages gather to protest in Haimen. Riot police fired teargas in an attempt to end the demonstrations, now running into their fourth day. Photograph: AP

Chinese riot police have fired teargas to break up a protest against a planned power station, while a state TV station showed confessions by two detained activists in an attempt to get other protesters off the streets.

Footage from Hong Kong’s Cable TV showed police firing several rounds of teargas in Haimen town in the southern province of Guangdong, forcing hundreds of people to flee covering their mouths and noses with their hands.

Hours later, a local TV station carried interviews with two detained protesters, a man named Li and a woman, Yung. Sitting behind bars with their heads bowed and handcuffs in full view, the two took turns to confess. “It was wrong to surround the government and block the highway,” Li said, with his eyes lowered.

“I do not know the law. If I knew, I will not block the expressway. If I could have understood this, I wouldn’t have been so brash,” Yung said, her voice shaking.

In an obvious attempt to end the demonstrations now running into their fourth day, the Shantou TV station also lined up several Chinese legal experts and quoted them as saying that such actions carried a maximum penalty of five years in jail, and urging protesters to surrender.

The protests in Haimen, a coastal town of about 120,000 people under the jurisdiction of Shantou city, intensified this week as people in Wukan village, about 80 miles further along the coast, called off a 10-day blockade of their village in protest against what they said was a land grab by officials. Continue reading

Africa: World Bank Unsure About Land Grab

Africa: World Divided Over New Scramble for African Land

Paul Redfern

4 October 2010

Nairobi — A World Bank report has confirmed that 45 million hectares of land in developing countries were bought in 2009, a tenfold jump from the previous decade.

Moreover, two-thirds of these controversial “land grabs” have been in Africa where critics say public and governmental institutions offer weak defences against western multinationals and Far Eastern state companies seeking farm land for food and biofuels.

While many development agencies and African campaigners are aghast at the latest news some believe that good land development projects are exactly what the world needs to solve the food crisis as they bring investment, knowhow, and transport links, as well as creating jobs.

But the morality of the global land rush is finely balanced and even the World Bank appears deeply torn. Continue reading