Northeast Chinese government fined for destroying family tombs
A district government in northeast China's Liaoning Province lost a lawsuit and has been ordered to pay compensation for levelling the family tombs of a resident, Xinhua reported on Sundayş
The government of Hunnan District in Shenyang City must pay 81,600 yuan (13,000 U.S. dollars) in compensation to 73-year-old Zhang Heyuan, according to the verdict issued earlier this week by the Shenyang Intermediate People's Court.
Zhang sued the district government for destroying 28 tombs belonging to his ancestors, relatives and friends on a mountain marked as a tourist spot in 2007. The government claimed the burials were "unauthorized" and removed the tombs after issuing an ultimatum.
The verdict recognized the tombs as historical legacies and Zhang's property. The government was ordered to pay compensation for 17 of the destroyed tombs that belonged to Zhang's family.
Shrinking land resources have prompted local Chinese governments to launch campaigns to clear burial mounds in the countryside and transfer the remains to public cemeteries, often triggering controversy.
In 2012, a voluntary tomb-clearing campaign that saw 2 million burial mounds removed in Zhoukou City, Henan Province drew criticism after some officials reportedly forced the removal of graves.