China: 4 dead in an attack on a public building

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Beijing | Four people were killed in a rare bombing of an administration building in a village in southern China, authorities reported.

The man who laid the bomb, a 59-year-old man, was also killed in the explosion, local police said on social media, adding that five people were injured.

The explosion occurred Monday morning in Mingjing, a village of 3,000 inhabitants near Canton which is the subject of an urban planning and expropriation project.

A video posted on the Jiemian news site shows a destroyed office, with blood on the walls and two people lying on the ground, lifeless.

Local media reported that the building in question housed the Village Committee, a body where land ownership decisions are made, among other things.

Last year, local authorities allocated 110 hectares to a Shanghai real estate developer, who planned to recreate an “old” village there to attract tourists, the Canton Daily reported.

This project, valued at 8 million yuan (1 million euros), should involve the rehousing of several families. People claiming to live in the area said on social media that the attack was linked to a dispute over compensation.

AFP has not been able to verify these claims, but the issue of expropriations is often a source of tension in China between the authorities and their citizens.

Between 2005 and 2015, between 1 and 5 million farmers were expropriated each year, often without compensation, according to a study by the University of Hong Kong.

The country overhauled its land ownership law last year, giving judges more freedom to consider claims of abusive expropriation. But Chinese justice remains subject to the will of the Communist Party whose local executives are often at the origin of colossal real estate projects.