Report: Increase in violent forced evictions in China

Picture of police and soldiers enforcing an eviction at an undisclosed location in China Photo: Amnesty International

I am just a couple of miles from the secure compound where China's leaders live and yet new laws drawn up last year are clearly being flouted. The laws were designed to protect people from the bullying and violence so often seen during forced evictions in China.

I met the Liu family who are living in what's left of their house. We've been following their case for the last six months.

28 year old Liu Yun Ge shows me a video filmed by his sister. He's being held down on the ground by four men, he says he was punched, kicked and smashed in the face with a brick. This was in June this year and he still endures pain caused by his damaged teeth.

WARNING: Some viewers may find parts of this report distressing.

He had been trying to stop the latest attempt to demolish the family home. The men holding him down are hired thugs he tells me, paid by the developer to stop him and his family from protecting their property.

They have the documentation to prove they have owned the house for many years - they say it's their ancestral home - but as today's Amnesty International report states, all land in China ultimately belongs to the state.

Amnesty's report on force evictions: 'Standing Their Ground' Credit: Reuters

Amnesty says there is a rise in forced evictions. Land, especially in the central parts of China's richest cities, is in high demand. Local governments across the country can make a lot of money if they force poorer people out of their homes and sell the land to property speculators.

The Liu family are the last family holding out. If they are finally forced to go, their home will be destroyed and the land which once housed hundreds of people living in a traditional close-knit community will be developed. A new shopping centre and apartments are planned for the prime location.

Amnesty's 85-page report called 'Standing Their Ground' claims that the number of forced evictions has risen significantly. The report says that as China's economy slows, pressure on local authorities to meet financial targets increases.

The Liu family home is the last standing on a plot that developers want to build on Credit: ITV News

People forced from their homes rarely get proper compensation or much notice that they face eviction, according to the cases studied by Amnesty.

Liu Yun Ge's mother Li Xu Yun tells me: "We don't have much power to fight back and we don't know when we will be in danger again. We're so vulnerable."

As darkness falls in Beijing, the family don't know if they will have a home when the morning comes.