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China man ‘digs dead mother from demolished house’

The remains of Gong Xuehui, 60, were found under the rubble Thursday following the demolition last month, the Beijing News reported.

Some 100 men burst into Gong’s house, dragging family members into separate vehicles and releasing them once the demolition was completed, the paper quoted her son Yang Quan as saying.

Yang and other relatives began a desperate search for Huang after finding her missing, posting notices around the city.

China has rapidly urbanized in recent decades, bringing regular conflicts between local government officials and residents over compensation when countryside properties are demolished.

Family members in Chazishan — an example of a “village within a city,” surrounded by urban buildings where land can be especially valuable — had turned down a government compensation offer worth 280,000 yuan (US$42,000) per person, the paper said.

The family hired a digger on Wednesday to search through the wreckage, discovering the body of Huang — who was previously in good health — the next day, it said.

Police were investigating, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, adding a post-mortem had begun to determine the cause of death.

A 2012 survey by U.S. advocacy group Landesa found that more than 20 percent of farmers were never compensated when their land was sold, while others were on average paid “a fraction of the mean price authorities themselves received.”

Workers partially demolished a hospital in the central city of Zhengzhou with several doctors and a patient still inside, media reported in January, prompting an investigation.

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