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Chinese province slammed for 'stupid' bulldozing of farm houses

In rush to merge nearly 70,000 villages, Shandong farmers forced to relocate

The remains of Xiao Zhao's family home in a Shandong province village. (Photo by Xiao Zhao)

HONG KONG -- Xiao Zhao had a peaceful existence in the village of Zhaibocun in the Binzhou district of Shandong province, driving 20 minutes each day to work in a factory while his parents grew crops in nearby fields. The 30-year-old lived with his wife, daughter and parents in a large self-built cottage guarded by a dog that often barked at neighboring chickens.

But about a month ago everything changed. The cottage was demolished and he and other villagers deserted the place where generations of their ancestors had lived.

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