Demolition row rumbles on in village

By Deng Jingyin Source:Global Times Published: 2012-8-7 0:10:03


A child sits, covering his eyes in the rubble of mostly demolished Shiliuzhuang village, Fengtai district Monday. Photo: Li Hao/GT
A child sits, covering his eyes in the rubble of mostly demolished Shiliuzhuang village, Fengtai district Monday. Photo: Li Hao/GT

Residents from a village in Fengtai district continued to protest the violent demolition of their homes after another six houses were torn down Monday. 

More than 200 people wearing black helmets and clothes went to Shiliuzhuang village around 5 am, witnesses alleged. 

"It's the fourth time inside a month they've violently demolished houses. I saw a couple was taken out after they [men] broke into a house and we couldn't reach them since then," said Li Shulin, a villager who still refuses to move. 

Residents living in the other five houses had left, but did not sign compensation contracts with the village committee.

Li said that he had witnessed the destruction of most of the village houses.

"They never got approval from local courts to remove our houses, so it's illegal violent demolition. We won't compromise with such hooligan behavior and my family will stick to this land until they come to destroy my home," Li said.

Another villager, surnamed Fei, whose house was razed Monday, said that he refused to move partly because the compensation is insufficient, but he looked reluctant to say how much money and what sort of apartment he would receive under the compensation deal.

"The village committee is not treating all families fairly.  Why can an official from the committee get more than us? I think the compensation they gave me is not enough for me to resettle," Fei said.

However, the village committee said that the compensation package was fair and enough for villagers to resettle.

"If they remain, we'll use the same methods to persuade them to go," said Xu Wanchao, secretary of the Shiliuzhuang village Party committee. 

More than 1,000 households have moved out, leaving only 10 households behind now.

"The land is owned collectively by villagers, so demolition rules don't apply, as the land is not State-owned," Xu said.

Village representatives had approved the decision to take the land back, he claimed.

A new demolition regulation came into effect in China in 2011, and it means that forced demolition is forbidden until a compensation deal is reached.

Xu's claims were refuted by Wang Cailiang, a lawyer and specialist in demolition regulations in Beijing.

"It's ridiculous to say that, since demolition rules apply to every citizen in China, no matter if you are a villager or not. They must ask permission from all villagers to take back the land, not just village representatives," Wang said.

But it will not be easy to win a legal case against the forced demolition, because despite the new law, courts are reluctant to accept these cases, said Wang, who added that he hopes the villagers would be successful in a court action, as it would improve the Chinese legal system.

Posted in: Society, Metro Beijing

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