Bittersweet moments for villagers being relocated for development of high-speed rail

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/5/14 17:28:08

Recyclers have come from all over China to collect rubbish and construction materials after hearing about the demolition. Photo: CFP

Jiang's 91-year-old mother (middle) is reluctant to move. Photo: CFP

Villagers read notices posted on a bulletin board about compensation and new housing. Photo: CFP

New homes are being built in a nearby township for the relocated villagers. Photo: CFP

Jiang's cousin is excited to move out of her traditional brick house and into a more modern building. But many elderly people are also reluctant to move, as they say it will mean the loss of their lifestyle. Photo: CFP

Village officials spend all day answering questions from villagers concerning the move. Photo: CFP


These days, when villagers in Zhuangtou, Tianjin bump into each other, they first ask "How much did you get for your house?"

The village they call home is being totally demolished this month to make way for the new Beijing-Tangshan high-speed railway that will cut through the area. One of the stations, Baodi South, will be located where the west side of the village now stands.

When the news broke out a year ago, Jiang Shaochen, a born-and-raised Zhuangtou native, said his feelings were complicated. On one hand, he will get financial compensation, leading to a better life, but on the other, it's hard to say goodbye to his hometown.

The 54-year-old elementary school teacher toured the village and took before-and-after shots of all its landmarks. Jiang said after the village is torn down, he and his mother will go to live in a nearby urban district.

However, the railway will make some things more convenient for the villagers who remain near the area. Jiang's daughter is working in Tianjin's downtown Binhai district and can only see her family once a week. After the railway is completed, she'll be able to travel back to their part of the municipality within a half an hour.

Recyclers are traveling from hundreds of miles away, from Beijing, Hebei Province, the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and even Yunnan Province, to collect the construction waste.

Some villagers are trying to preserve what they can of their memories and old lifestyle. They say moving into brand new city apartment buildings may improve their lives, but people won't be as close to their neighbors as they are now. One villager is planning her son's wedding on May 21, but was told the village will be evacuated by May 20, and her son can't have a traditional village wedding.

Newspaper headline: Last days of home

Posted in: IN-DEPTH

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