Chinese Female Soccer Player Challenges Officials Over Forced House Demolition

by EditorT

A man works at a demolition site at the Bailianjing Area in Pudong District, where residential houses will be demolished in Shanghai, China on Aug. 28, 2005. (China Photos/Getty Images)

By Mary Hong

Shandong women’s soccer player Lu Yatong revealed her home was violently demolished on Feb. 12, injuring Lu and several family members in the process. Lu recorded the incident and posted it on Chinese social media, Weibo, and challenged local officials on the rule of law after the demolition was conducted without following legal procedures.

Speaking to the Chinese language edition of The Epoch Times on Feb. 12, Lu said their electricity and water were shut off before dawn, and at around 6:00 a.m., about 300 people broke into their property and begun violently dragging them out and demolishing their home.

According to Lu, the demolition was done without any scheduling and no public notice, and the officials intentionally led the narrative of the house as “an illegal structure” that needed to be demolished.

A Premeditated Demolition

In her Weibo post on, Lu explained they had all the legal documents for their property, but the demolition team dragged all her family members out of the house.

She wrote, “my father and sister were hospitalized from the dragging and beating. My brother and aunt had bloodied backs after being dragged on the ground for more than ten meters of distance.

“My other 19-year-old sister was dragged into a container, she was locked inside for three hours and repeatedly slapped by three men.”

She said the demolition team took all their phones, assaulted them, and locked them up on the property.

Lu added, “This forced demolition was premeditated.”

Lu told a local news outlet on Feb. 11 that the land was under her father’s name, but the house was under her grandfather’s. The authorities had demanded her father agree with the official’s decision that the house was illegally constructed. Her father refused to sign the agreement, believing he did not have the right to sign on behalf of Lu’s grandfather. Lu added that their neighbor received compensation for their home demolition, but since Lu’s home was deemed illegal by the local authorities, they did not receive compensation. She said there was a 60-day window for an appeal, and her father had submitted all necessary documentation to prove the legality of the construction, but their home was demolished before the 60-day time frame.

Fear of Reprisal

Responding to Lu’s public challenge, local officials of Laishan District, Yantai City, released an investigation report on the incident on Feb. 11.

According to the officials’ report, “about 676 square meters (approx. 7,276 square feet) of the total 760.6 square meters (approx 8,187-square-foot) of structures were illegal even though the party claimed they have resided in the property for many years. They built these structures themselves illegally.”

Lu disagreed with the investigation and report.

According to a Chinese media report, Lu said, “The investigation should be done by both sides. No one came to my house to investigate. I don’t know how they reached this conclusion.”

The Epoch Times phoned the propaganda department of the Laishan District on Feb. 12. The staff who answered the call said a joint investigation team was formed for the investigation. The specific results are subject to official notification.

Lu told The Epoch Times the people who rushed into their property were both men and women. She’s not sure if there were any law enforcement officials among them. No one presented identification. Some of them wore urban management uniforms, but she could not say for sure, and both sides of their property were also blocked.

A homeowner who failed to protect her home from demolition in Guangzhou, in south China's Guangdong Province on March 21, 2012. Real estate companies work hand-in-glove with corrupt officials in order to get land cleared for development. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

A homeowner who failed to protect her home from demolition in Guangzhou, in south China’s Guangdong Province on March 21, 2012. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Lu was supposed to return to the soccer team on Feb. 11 but had to take leave because of the injury and the incident. Fearing she will be hurt again, she said she’s temporarily living in a relative’s home.

She’s scheduled for an MRI of both arms and legs. “There may be some ligament damage,” she said.

She’s lived in the house since she was born, said Lu.

She said, “There’s no guarantee of our livelihood after the demolition. We are hospitalized because of the injuries, and we must pay for the cost ourselves. We don’t have the money for the hospitalization.”

Corrupt Judiciary System

Human rights lawyer Lu Tingge told The Epoch Times that a women’s soccer player’s house being demolished has a far bigger impact than other cases involving property from a non-public figure.

However, forced demolition in China has persisted for a long time and frequently. He said, “The inaction of the judiciary system, and often even the collusion of the judiciary with the developers and the relevant officials, has often led to the forced demolition, the ignorance of the demolition, and even suppression of the victims.”

It’s all too frequent that the victims will only become the defendants, a natural consequence of “an unsupervised judiciary system,” said Lu Tingge.

A Chinese Weibo user, “Liao Xiaoli,” posted, “Regardless of the reasons …, whether they were built illegally or not, it is extremely wrong for the Yantai [government] to cut off water, electricity, and conduct violent demolition. Even if the house is an illegal building, the government should resolve it by reasonable measures instead of sending hundreds of people to demolish a house at 6 a.m.”

Another Weibo user said the authority’s investigation and report was released almost immediately, suggesting the report was already planned and done before the demolition, “What usually happens, in this case, is that online opinions will turn against the soccer player, the relevant department will issue an official notice to the national soccer team or reflect the public opinion to her team in Shandong. I think Lu will receive relevant treatment which will affect her career seriously or even abruptly end her soccer life,” said the post.

Fang Xiao, Gu Xiaohua, and Luo Ya contributed to this report.



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