A 70-year-old grandmother in China was reportedly beaten and buried alive by property developers trying to take possession of her land.

Wang Cuyun from Hubei Province was struggling with workers trying to tear down her house and was allegedly beaten by a worker wielding a wooden stick.

She was dumped in a drainage ditch that ringed her property and a bulldozer covered her with earth, burying her alive.

Witnesses said three policemen were present to supervise the eviction but did nothing to intervene or protect her.

Her son joined other relatives trying to rescue her. It took more than half an hour to pull her free from the ditch, by which time she was dead.

Wang's son moved her body to the side of a main road and was joined by thousands of local residents protesting at her death.

One man told Hubei Television that policemen had "stood around acting like it was none of their business."

Wang's death is the latest in a long series of assualts, intimidation and violence carried out by property developers in their efforts to obtain valuable land for development.

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