Government right to tear down walls

Source:Global Times Published: 2016-2-24 21:43:01

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Many are concerned that their private properties might be trespassed upon after the removal of walls. But there is no need for people to worry too much.

To begin with, according to China's system, all urban land is State-owned. When letting land for residential construction, the government has reserved the right to request to build open residential compounds. If the property developers disagree with the street-and-block system, they can give up the land auction. Customers can choose not to buy the properties as well.

In addition, "gradually opening up" existing residential compounds means communities will not be forced to remove their walls. There are two possible ways to help "gradually" open up residential complexes.

First, the authorities can offer reasonable financial and political compensations to involved residents. For instance, the government might consider prolonging the current 70-year land use rights to 100 years in return for opening up residential complexes. This is beneficial to both the government and property owners. While cities will see more extensive road networks, residents will have a stronger sense of security for their properties.

Another ideal option for the government is to open up existing residential complexes after the 70-year land use right expires. China's property law grants only a 70-year use right to land for residential purposes. After the right expires, it will be lawful for the government to use the public land for other purposes.

It is understandable that residents value and cherish their private property. Yet, we should not be too sensitive and dogmatic over property protection. Instead of one-sidedly opposing to the government's planning guidelines, we should learn to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of the administrative order.

In fact, the street-and-block system is a step forward for China. Unlike New York, Beijing has a very low road density, which is one of the main reasons for its traffic congestion. And the population in the cities is huge.

Despite complains about air pollution, noise and congestion, many people still prefer to stay in cities where they can have higher salaries and better lives. People love the city for its efficiency and convenience. Chinese cities need more roads instead of enclosed residential compounds for better developments.

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