...to laugh or cry...this once again reminds me of one of my favorite vignettes regarding tyranny. "Legality" in the middle kingdom is a perilous and fragile concept.
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.
It did not appear that the new developers could wait a single moment for work on their latest project - a series of industrial and manufacturing parks - to begin.
Deputy Party Secretary Li Xiaofei, who is in charge of Liuxiazhuang, explained, "everyone" had been aware of this project and the plans to convert the land into a large-scale industrial and commercial park.
"During this entire land dispute, we have followed the laws. Everything we have done us is legal. Of course, what has happened is unfortunate," said Li.