by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Feb 21, 2013
Villagers in central China who secretly rebuilt tombs after they were flattened by officials to provide more farmland are being forced to pull them down again, domestic media reported Thursday.
Authorities caused uproar last year in Henan province by demolishing two million tombs, and residents re-erected hundreds of thousands of them over the Lunar New Year holiday that ended last week, the Southern Metropolis Daily said.
Respect for ancestors is a deeply ingrained aspect of Chinese culture, with a major annual festival dedicated to maintaining tombs, and officials halted the "flatten graves to return farmland" policy in November in the wake of the outcry.
But a report in the Henan Daily newspaper -- the Communist Party mouthpiece for the province -- said residents had "misunderstood" new rules on burials, wrongly believing that authorities would not act to remove rebuilt tombs.
A local official quoted in the Southern Metropolis Daily said: "The action of flattening the tombs for the second time is proceeding. This started on February 14 and is nearing completion."
The newspaper quoted online forum users saying officials were threatening residents with fines if they did not remove the rebuilt tombs.
China's government encourages cremation, citing a shortage of land for burials, but many in the countryside continue to construct tombs due to traditional beliefs.
An official in Zhoukou city, which has been at the centre of the tomb-clearing policy, told AFP Thursday he was unable to confirm whether rebuilt tombs were being removed.
Chinese anger over Cultural Revolution trial
China has never publicly estimated how many died in the decade-long period, during which people turned on their neighbours. Half a million died in 1967 alone, according to British historian Roderick MacFarquhar.
"The biggest murderer in the Cultural Revolution has no responsibility, while a common murderer is held accountable decades later," attorney Liu Xiaoyuan wrote on his Twitter-like weibo microblog.
The state-run China News Service reported Wednesday that a man in his eighties had gone on trial in the eastern province of Zhejiang this week for the 1967 murder of a doctor suspected of being a spy.
The defendant, surnamed Qiu, was accused of strangling his victim with a rope before cutting off his legs and burying him.
Qiu was a member of "an armed group" during the decade of upheaval known as the Cultural Revolution, the report said, adding that he was arrested last July.
Another weibo user called Qiu a "pawn", adding: "You don't dare punish" people who should be held accountable such as senior officials.
A woman surnamed Zheng at the People's Court in the Zhejiang city of Ruian, told AFP Thursday that the trial had been completed and a verdict could come in the next few days.
"There is a high chance we will give him a suspended sentence," she said, citing the defendant's advanced age.
The Cultural Revolution was launched in 1966 by Mao, who called on ordinary citizens to struggle against the privileged, resulting in attacks on government officials, intellectuals and other groups.
Memories of the episode remain raw in China, and a full historical accounting has never been released by the country's communist authorities.
"There are so many people who died in the Cultural Revolution," wrote another Internet user Wednesday. "Wasn't that stirred up by a certain party?"
"What are you doing?", the user continued. "Intend to show how efficient your work is? Or how impartial you are when you enforce the law? It is just a show!"
China News from SinoDaily.com
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|