This Land is My Land (Hebei Edition)

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For two years, villagers in China's Hebei province have refused to leave 67 acres of their land that the local government granted to a state-owned power company. On June 11, six villagers were killed in a confrontation between hired thugs with pipes and locals wielding pitchforks. This week, government officials backed off.

The Washington Post report suggests it may have been video of the brutal June riot, recorded by one of the local farmers and distributed over the internet, that led to the about-face.

Violent video here.

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  1. In the U.S., our government, backed by the Supremes, would just take the land, anyway. And most Americans are too servile to stage a good riot.

  2. To paraphrase T.S. Eliot, this is how totalitarianism will end — not with a whimper, but with a bang. And a video camera.

    (Power to the people, right on!)

  3. This is a good reason to buy a rifle.
    and a mini-dv camcorder.
    and a laptop with a copy of iMovie or Final Cut Pro.

    Does this make me an extremist?

  4. Does this make me an extremist?

    Nope, just a shill for Apple :). I like Final Cut Express myself (I need to upgrade before my next project too).

  5. “government officials backed off”

    Wouldn’t it great if US government officials could be as flexible as China’s and “back off” this crusading fixation?

  6. What a great invention, the video camera. I remember walking through downtown Seattle on my way to school. I saw four officers (one on a horse) forcefully peeling some shitbum off the sidewalk. Something tells me they would have been nicer if I had asked them to say “cheese!” But this was long before I got my camera. I may start carrying it with me to film routine traffic stops. Just something to make them think about what they’re doing.

  7. sage-

    I’ve considered that myself. There are at least a couple of miniDV camcorders out there that are nearly the size of a large paperback novel. Something like that would probably be a good thing to have handy.

  8. Does this make me an extremist?

    Some would say that anyone who owns both a Macintosh and a firearm has to be some sort of extremist. 🙂

  9. CVS just started sellling disposable camcorders for $29.99. I bought one and keep it in my glove compartment

  10. We call that “eminent domain” here.
    Susette Kelo, get your pitchfork.

  11. Adam,

    You forget that according to joe Kelo is just too stupid to understand what is best for her. 🙂

  12. No surprise, joe seems to think that about everyone.

  13. Adam,

    In the previous article Reason linked to about this subject, one of the farmers complained that the land they were given in compensation was smaller and less productive than the land that was taken from them.

    They did not receive just compensation.

  14. Yawn, yawn, yawn. What a boring argument – duh, you think you’re better’n me?!?

  15. If you go back to any of the Kelo threads, you will find zero (0) statements on my part that the takings were better for the New London homeowners.

    God fucking forbid you address actual arguments.

  16. This is a good reason to buy a rifle.

    and a mini-dv camcorder.

    and a laptop with a copy of iMovie or Final Cut Pro.

    Does this make me an extremist?

    Comment by: mediageek at July 22, 2005 11:24 AM

    Sounds like this guy (yeah, he’s got a lot of video and photography equipment, too).

  17. Americans didn’t used to be so servile and bovine. I wonder why? Numbed by TV and corn syrup? I think a draft is the only thing that would cause noticable civil disobedience and even then maybe not.

  18. joe,

    Actually, you questioned the motives, methods, etc of the IJ, and thus made Kelo sound like a dupe. Its was one of your finer elitist moments.

  19. “In the previous article Reason linked to about this subject, one of the farmers complained that the land they were given in compensation was smaller and less productive than the land that was taken from them.

    They did not receive just compensation.”

    Similarly joe, property owners who’ve had their property taken obviously valued their home more than the “fair market value” that the government was offering.

  20. Yawn, yawn, yawn. What a boring argument – duh, you think you’re better’n me?!?

    Of course, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to support a legal system that infringes on your rights.

    :p

  21. Brian,
    “Americans didn’t used to be so servile and bovine. I wonder why? Numbed by TV and corn syrup?”

    Public education, my friend, public education.

  22. “Similarly joe, property owners who’ve had their property taken obviously valued their home more than the “fair market value” that the government was offering.”

    And I want a pony. A magic one that shits Hershey’s Kisses. The Constitution guarantees you fair compensation, not what you want, when your property is taken.

    Yes, Hack, I’m a huge elitist for suspecting that lawyers know more about the law than the average citizen. Sorry about that.

  23. matt,

    Should we start using your “what people would want” standard when assessing properties for tax purposes?

  24. Ten to one says that joe would never bulldoze the home of a family member or friend for the common good.

    It’s an economy of pull, get used to it people.

  25. Joe:

    Let me put it this way, the Chinese gov’t attempted to take something from the farmers and give them something they valued less in return. When the U.S. government takes my property and offers me “fair compensation” in return, it is doing the exact same thing. I value their offer less than I value keeping my property. Fair compensation is only fair if both parties agree to the transaction, regardless of what it says in the constitution.

    “Should we start using your “what people would want” standard when assessing properties for tax purposes?”

    Sounds good to me. 🙂

  26. While the underlying theory might be the same, I have a hard time equating Kelo with these Chinese farmers. Kelo’s property has been stolen for illegitimate reasons, which is flat out wrong. But she’ll still be able to go to Starbucks every day. You take away somebody’s farm, and much more is at stake than property rights.

  27. I don’t think you get it, matt. Property taxes are determined by multplying the rate by the value of the home. Currently, the value of the home is established in a similar manner as an appraisal for “fair market value” – comparing the property to other comparable properties that have been sold in the area.

    How about this – the city makes everyone fill out a form stating how much they would need to be paid to sell their home, and this figure is used to determine its tax valuation. And if the city wants to take your home through eminent domain, it pays the price you put on the form. You wouldn’t move unless you got $10 million? Bam, here’s your tax bill. You want to be taxed on a $100 home? OK, but we’re taking the property, revitalizing the neighborhood by painting the trim, then putting it out for sale at market value.

    Or maybe we should just develop the best system we can for estimating a home’s fair market value, and base both tax valuations and prices for takings using that.

  28. Oh, and, Yay Farmers!

  29. Yes, Hack, I’m a huge elitist for suspecting that lawyers know more about the law than the average citizen. Sorry about that.

    Yes, but always remember, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

  30. “Or maybe we should just develop the best system we can for estimating a home’s fair market value, and base both tax valuations and prices for takings using that.”

    Or, “we” could just not steal other people’s property while handing them other people’s money in an attempt to placate them.

  31. Joe, do you mind? Your flop sweat is soaking everyone here.

  32. Or “we” could fall back on vacuous cant when “we” get caught not knowing what “we” are talking about.

  33. Juh ge di shi wo de di…
    Juh ge di shi ne de di…
    Zai California chu New York (islands)…

    Forgive my bad pinyin, limited voacbulary and crude literal translations

  34. First, bravo to the brave farmers and condolences for their losses.

    Frankly the response from some of the commenters leans way too heavy on this anecdote. Just because there may not be an instance where Americans are dying over resistance to eminent domain, that means they are all lying back and ‘taking it’?

    I might also question how common this courage is in Chinese eminent domain cases, but it wasn’t actually brought up.

  35. “Or “we” could fall back on vacuous cant when “we” get caught not knowing what “we” are talking about.”

    Um…not quite. I thought your comment:

    “Should we start using your “what people would want” standard when assessing properties for tax purposes?”

    was a sarcastic retort meaning “people should get to decide how much they pay in taxes.” To which I replied, “sounds good to me.”

    Sorry joe, theft is theft whether by government or private criminal. Disguise it however you’d like. Anyway, I’m done….have a good weekend.

  36. Joe: I actually sort of support that plan-although I think there should be some sort of markup on the buyout value. I’m not terribly fond of property taxes (well, I’m not terribly fond of any sort of taxes, especially the sort that I have to pay), but if we have to have them, seems like they should be based on the actual value of the house. Maybe I name a price, and can be bought out for 125% of that price, or some such (to discourage people being harassed with the inconvenience of repeated moves, etc). What do you think?

  37. “Juh ge di shi wo de di…
    Juh ge di shi ne de di…
    Zai California chu New York (islands)…”

    Translation:
    This land is my land
    From the New York Highlands
    to the California hinterlands.
    This land is made for you and me.

    Did I nail your obtuse jibbering ass or what?

  38. Property taxes are determined by multplying the rate by the value of the home. Currently, the value of the home is established in a similar manner as an appraisal for “fair market value” – comparing the property to other comparable properties that have been sold in the area.

    My beef is not just that “fair market value” doesn’t take into account what a person might be willing to take for their property, but also that it doesn’t take into account the increase in value by the very revitalization that it is being taken for. A vacant lot in a ghetto doesn’t have nearly as much “fair market value” as a vacant lot in a soon-to-be-former ghetto. Why is the well connected developer the only one that pockets the difference? Shouldn’t the original owner, the person who took a chance investing in the ghetto lot to begin with get the increase?

    Information has everything to do with the value of an investment. Knowledge of development in an area greatly affects the “fair market value” of other lots of land in the area. Eminent Domain rigs that effect in favor of the politically connected larger investors over all others.

  39. I agree with Joe.

    The public purpose of higher property taxes can be used to educate the children so that they won’t feel bad if the same as happened to Kelo happens to them.

    People who live in nice houses and don’t want to move so that even nicer rental and commercial properties can be built are selfish.

    Public use is old hat, anyway. Get with the program!

    The federal government should use this ruling to bring in overseas businesses and factories.

  40. jadagul, I would anticipate a whole lot more homeowners getting screwed one way or the other if my joke scheme was put in place.

    dead elvis, you raise a good point. Of course, most people whose homes are taken get above market value, when you factor in “relocation expenses” and negotiated prices above market value that the government agrees to for the sake of expedience.

  41. Joe–sorry for being dense, but why would you expect an uptick in homeowner-screwing?

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