China Farmer Fights with Home-made Cannon

Jul 19, 2010

Wuhan farmer emulates "Avatar" and uses home-made cannon to repel 100-man-strong eviction team.

Open and fair actions in accordance with the law. Oppose using public power for personal reasons

"Open and fair actions in accordance with the law. Oppose using public power for personal reasons."

Yang Youde is a farmer who had contracted to rent 25 mu (1 mu is equal to 1/15th of a hectare) of land.  The lease was set to continue until 2019.  Over the years, Yang has been raising fish and cattle and planting cotton, melons and fruits on the land.

Last year, Yang Youde learned that his land had been requisitioned.  Since the compensation terms for breaking the contract had not been settled, he has refused to move out. "The evictors said many times that they will move me."  Earlier this year, Yang took measures to protect himself. He took a hand-truck and removed the front.  Then he put in a set of rockets for use as an artillery battery.

On February 26 this year, a team of more than 30 evictors approached his site ready to demolish his house by force.  "At the time, I set off the rockets.  They hid behind the bulldozer.  After the rockets were all fired off, they came out and administered a thrashing on Yang.   But they did not bulldoze the house immediately.  Instead, they only said that they will come back and finish the job.  Afterwards, Yang upgraded his defense by building a "cannon twer" with help from friends and relatives.

On May 25 this year, a team of more than 100 evictors wearing helmets and carrying shields approached his home behind bulldozers and earth diggers.  "As soon as I spotted them, I got on the 'cannon tower" and fired several shots at them.  They stopped.  The police then showed up and chased them away."


Wuhan farmer uses home-made cannons to repel land evictors.


Yang Youde said that he will continue to stand up against the evictors.  He has "researched and developed" new weapons such as "petrol bombs."  He has also set up a couch on the cannon tower so that he can be on vigil twenty-four hours a day.


Al-Jazeera has also reported on Farmer Yang:


UPDATE: Yang’s antics have worked. According to the China Daily, Yang has won the biggest compensation deal ever, worth more than 750,000 yuan for 1.75 hectares of land, a fishpond and single-storey brick farmhouse on the outskirts of Wuhan, Hubei province.

Although he claims to have fired only warning shots at developers, his actions appear to have secured a far higher settlement than that offered to his neighbours. According to the paper, Yang was so pleased that he personally demolished his eight-metre-high watchtower and made preparations to relocate.


This post was originally published on EastSouthWestNorth in June 2010.