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China's Land Grabs: A case Study
As the autumn harvest draws ever nearer, villagers in Liuxiazhuang have found themselves, quite suddenly, landless. Documents provided to Al Jazeera by township-level officials showed contracts the government entered into on September 10 - less than two weeks ago. Four days later, villagers at Liuxiazhuang received notices of the confiscation of parts of their farmland and the bulldozers promptly rolled in. This took place just weeks ahead of the autumn harvest, and the farmers could hardly believe they had not only lost their land, but their last season of crops.
Contrary to the conspiracy theories, China is not looking for world domination. It has seen economic growth averaging a massive 10 per cent for the best part of three decades, and although it is expected to drop into the high single-digits in the coming years – in response to a dip in export demand – the natural resources required to support even slightly moderated growth are an overwhelming priority. China is already the second-largest oil consumer in the world and far outstrips its domestic supplies. Neptune estimates that it will need to buy two companies the size of BP each year for the next 12 years to meet its growing domestic energy demand. Demand for electricity alone is growing each year equivalent to Britain's entire output.