A father and son have been jailed for violently resisting the government-backed demolition of their home on the outskirts of Beijing with pepper spray and Molotov cocktails, according to mainland media reports.
The pair, surnamed Wang, were each handed 14-month prison terms by Shijingshan District Court on Wednesday afternoon for refusing to allow the execution of government orders, Legal Evening News reported.
They were given a relatively light sentence because both pleaded guilty and expressed remorse for their behaviour.
The house was initially scheduled for demolition on April 28, but when workers turned up at the property, they had a tense stand-off with the pair that was filmed by the workers.
The demolition crew were attacked by pepper spray and nine beer bottles filled with petrol thrown by the younger Wang.
These set the grassy patches outside the house on fire and gave off noxious fumes, the prosecution told the court.
The 63-year-old father also brandished a can of petrol at the workers, shouting at them “All of you, don’t live!”
When demolition services revisited the house two days later, they found it barricaded and empty. Among the possessions left there, they found three Molotov cocktails and seven cans of “anti-wolf” pepper spray.
The house was eventually demolished and the father and son were detained by police in May after police made contact with the younger Wang’s wife.
Both men claimed during the trial that they had no recollection of attacking the demolition workers with Molotov cocktails and pepper spray.
The elderly man told the court that the petrol can he was seen brandishing only contained water because he wanted to scare off the workers.
The son also claimed that the Molotov cocktails and “anti-wolf” spray found in the house were for self-defence because it was in a remote location.
Demolition works in Shijingshan District were originally approved by the authorities back in 2009 to make way for the construction of a new major road.
Wang’s house was earmarked for demolition as part of the project, but he had been unable to reach an agreement with the authorities.
After an appeal was rejected, the Shijingshan Housing Construction Committee ruled that Wang had to vacate his home within 16 days and either opt for resettlement or 2.19 million yuan (US$424,000) in compensation within a 30-day period. It is unclear whether he still qualifies for this following his conviction.