85% of urban Chinese cannot afford to buy a home as inflation accelerates


By Malcolm Moore, in Shanghai, via telegraph.co.uk, Dec. 11, 2010 -

China’s property bubble has grown so huge that 85pc of Chinese living in cities can no longer afford to buy a home, according to an influential Chinese government think tank.

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) said in its annual Economic Blue Paper that a typical Chinese property now costs 8.8 years of average earnings. Continue reading

New Property Acquisition Law Triggers Fears in China


By Chen Yilian, The Epochtimes, Oct. 19, 2010-

The recent announcement of the draft of a new law in Southwestern China, “Measures for Dealing with Emergent Incidents in Sichuan Province,” is causing heated controversy. According to the proposal, authorities can seize both business and personal property whenever they deem it necessary.

However, the law does not specify guidelines for acquisition or suggest any form of compensation. A widespread concern is that the draft is a new way for regime officials to expropriate the property of citizens under a legal veneer. Continue reading

Nearly-completed residential building collapse kills eight workers in China


AFP, Oct 3, 2010 -

BEIJING — A four-storey residential building under construction in northern China collapsed, killing eight workers and injuring three others, state media reported on Sunday.

The nearly-completed building collapsed in the city of Xian early Saturday and more than 300 rescue personnel worked until 3 am Sunday (1900 GMT Saturday) to free survivors, Xinhua news agency reported. Continue reading

Biggest relocation in China since Three Gorges, 440,000 Affected


By Clifford Coonan in Beijing, The Independent, UK, Friday, 13 August 2010 -

China’s growing thirst for water is driving one of the world’s biggest mass relocations, with 440,000 people leaving their homes to make way for a huge man-made canal project to channel water to drought-prone Beijing.

An advance party of 499 villagers were moved yesterday from their homes near Wuhan in Hubei province, China’s heartland, in preparation for one of the biggest irrigation schemes in history.

By the end of September, 60,000 people will have left the area. The remainder will be relocated by 2014, giving up their homes to make way for the South-North Water Diversion Project (SNWD) which will divert water from China’s largest river, the Yangtze.

“I am surprised nobody cried when the coaches left our village. Last night, we felt sorrow when the whole village gathered to have our last dinner in our home town together,” a villager named Wang told Xinhua news agency, leaving their town in Danjiankou, which by 2014 will be under 560ft of water.

The project is designed to take water from a section of the Yangtze, to satisfy demand in northern China’s drought-prone mega-cities, including the capital Beijing and the busy port of Tianjin. North China has only 20 per cent of the country’s water but 64 per cent of all arable land.

At least 440,000 residents will be relocated to make way for the first stage of the project’s eastern and central routes, with 330,000 of them living in Henan and Hubei provinces.

The last time China moved so many people was when it was building the £15bn Three Gorges Dam project, the world’s largest hydroelectric project, on the Yangtze in the late 1990s. Back then 1.4 million people were forced to move as their villages were submerged beneath a reservoir 410 miles long. The project was completed in 2006.

Environmentalists have criticised both projects and say that the dam scheme has caused ecological problems. The banks of the Yangtze are being eroded by the weight of the water behind the dam, hazardous landslides blight the area as water levels fluctuate wildly and huge waves crash against riverbanks. Construction of the dam flooded 116 towns and hundreds of ancient historical sites, but it remains a potent symbol of China’s technological prowess. However, the Three Gorges Dam project has given the Chinese valuable experience in moving large numbers of people…….(more details from The Independent)

UN Protestors Highlight China’s Forced House Eviction Problem


NTDTV, Via Dailymotion.com, Aug. 9, 2010 -

[Chen Xuxing, Forced Eviction Victim]:
“This is a photo of my house. It had 4 floors and was close to 500 square meters.”

Chen Xuxing’s house is gone. A local real estate developer in Wuhan wanted to use his land to build a park, but Mr. Chen didn’t agree. So the company forced him out of him home—and then demolished it.

It’s known as forced eviction, and in China, it’s one of the most serious problems facing the country today. Developers, often working with local officials, have rushed to cash in on a real estate boom. Often, it involves driving residents off desirable land.

Residents have little legal protection—even when companies do illegal things to force them out.

[Chen Xuxing, Forced Eviction Victim]:

“Because we didn’t reach an agreement, three days later they employed thugs to break into my house.”

This is video footage from the surveillance camera on Mr. Chen’s house.

[Chen Xuxing, Forced Eviction Victim]:
“Several dozen people came, thugs came to break down my door…After beating me in the house until my head was bleeding, they pulled me outside to beat me. They said they had taken me outside to beat me so the neighbors could see, and that whoever doesn’t move will end up like this.”

Mr. Chen was hospitalized for two months.

He shot this footage after leaving the hospital. His street is filled with the debris of demolished houses. This couple stands in the ruins of their home—torn down with all their belongings still inside. Other houses are marked with the word “demolish.”

Mr. Chen says the development company was colluding with local officials. When Mr. Chen was attacked, neighbors called the police, but they didn’t show up until the following afternoon. Local authorities also refused to listen to the residents’ protests.

According to the Asia Advocacy Director at Human Rights Watch, this type of corruption is common in China.

- NTDTV

Old Woman Chooses Self-Immolation to Against Government’s Forced Demolition in Northwestern China


By Gu Qing’er, Epoch Times Staff, June 18, 2010-

In order to stop authorities from demolishing her house and taking her land for the purpose of ‘economic development’, Li Wei set herself on fire. The 60-year-old woman is currently hospitalized and in critical condition with third degree burns over 37 percent of her body.

June 13 was the day the authorities were going to expropriate her land to build a factory for the Jingyue Economic Development Area in northwestern China’s Changchun City. Li Wei and her husband Li Xiuchen were having breakfast when the local government sent a dozen cars and over 50 people to her house, telling the couple that they were taking their house down, according to Wenhuabao (China Culture Daily).

When they tried to force Li Wei out of her home she dowsed herself with gasoline and set herself on fire. The intruders then rushed out of the house.

A doctor at the hospital said Li could die considering that she also suffers from a heart problem and diabetes.

The Epoch Times called the Office of Letters and Calls of the Jingyue Economic Development Area for comment. The man on duty said that the incident was being handled “according to procedures.”

The couple had been offered 13,000 yuan (US$1,900) for their house, but turned down the offer.

According to Wenhuabao (newspaper), Li did not regret what she did. “I was not given any choice. I had to fight for my house with my life,” Li said.

In the past few years, many such tragic incidents have taken place. The combination of land grabs by rapacious officials under the guise of public development, and the lack of established means for expressing dissent in China’s still closed political environment, are behind the incidents of desperation.

In November 2009, Tang Fuzhen, a businesswoman in Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, set herself on fire on the roof of her house, in front of police. She died as a result.

On Dec 14, 2009, Xi Xinzhu from Beijing set himself on fire to protest forced demolition.

On Jan 26, 2010, Zeng Huanwei, resident of Yancheng City, Jiangsu Province, lit himself on fire to protest a road broadening project that his house was a victim of.

On March 3, 2010, 70-year-old Wang Cuiyun from Wuhan City, Hubei Province attempted to stop a demolition in progress. An earth scraper threw her into a ditch, and she died as a result.

On March 10, 2010, Han Huabin from Huayin City, Jiangsu Province, poured gasoline on himself in front of government officials who came to demolish his house. As the demolition proceeded he set himself on fire and incurred serious injuries.

On March 27, 2010, a father and son from Lianyungang City burned themselves in an attempt to stop town officials from taking down their pig farm. The 68-year-old son, Tao Huixi, died and the 92-year-old Tao Xingyao was injured.

On April 29, 2010
, four hundred desperate Chinese farmers from Changchunling Village in Heilongjiang Province resorted to lying on railroad tracks to protest government land grabs. Armed police dispersed them with tear gas. A dozen farmers suffered injuries, with two badly hurt.

On May 10, 2010, 91-year-old Liu Xian from Yongchun County, Fujian Province, drank pesticide and killed himself because he feared that he would have no place to stay after his house was torn down.

Forced relocation for the purpose of infrastructure or luxury developments are common in China and have become a source of festering unrest, especially because of the inadequate compensation generally given to the landowners.

To prepare for the World Expo, Shanghai officials displaced 18,000 families and 270 factories. Many residents who lived near the Huangpu River were forced to relocate and given minimal compensation. Countless have become homeless while some have been detained, beaten, and even killed.

The Department of Sociology at Tsinghua University in Beijing recently published a report that outlines the urgency of “maintenance of social stability” (often code for maintenance of regime stability) in the face of social conflicts, social unrest, and mass uprisings throughout the country.

The report says, “Without an effective outlet for people to express their interests, unresolved conflicts will accumulate in an increasingly unstable society. The growing social disputes stemming from violations of human rights and property rights, predominantly related to forced evictions, subsequent demolitions, and unpaid wages, are described as the leading causes of instability in China today.”

- The Epochtimes

Three Resisters in South China Sentenced by Court for Againsting Forced Demolition


Human Rights in China, June 11, 2010-

On June 11, 2010, the Yinhai People’s Court of Beihai, in southern Guangxi Province, found three inhabitants of the Baihutou Village guilty of “obstructing official business,” and sentenced two of them, Gao Zhenzhang (高镇章) and Gao Shihui (高世辉), father and son, to two years’ imprisonment each. The third defendant, Cai Jianyue (蔡建月), received one-and-a-half years.

The three were detained on October 30, 2009, during a confrontation between more than 100 police officers and several hundred Baihutou villagers who resisted the forced demolition of their village committee building. As a result of that incident, one of the villagers beaten by the police, a relative of the Gao family, later died in the hospital. On May 26, 2010, Gao Zhenzhang’s other son, Gao Shifu (高世福), was criminally detained on suspicion of “illegally operating a business.” The family has received no information on his status.

Dong Qianyong ( 董前勇), the lawyer for Gao Shihui, said that Gao and his father are not guilty. Dong said that the father, Gao Zhenzhang, only tried to stop the demolition and did not use force. He was pulled away by his son, Gao Shifu, who was in turn pulled away by his brother, Gao Shihui, so that the men could avoid being beaten by the police.

Gao Zhenzhang’s daughter said that her 71-year-old mother collapsed when she heard the guilty verdict and sentences of her husband and son.

The conviction and sentencing mark a new episode in a 4-year dispute between the inhabitants of  Baihutou Village and the Beihai municipal government over what the villagers allege to be the authorities’ unlawful expropriation of village land for tourism development – land on which they had depended for their livelihood. The villagers accuse a former village chief, Feng Kun (冯坤), of handing over 125.5 acres of village land to the Beihai municipal government without consultation with the inhabitants.

On May 14, 2010, Feng Kun’s successor, current village chief Xu Kun (许坤), who led the fight against the land requisition and forced demolition, was detained and charged with “illegally operating a business.” Xu has been in police custody since. The authorities have not allowed him to meet with his lawyer Zheng Jianwei (郑建伟), claiming that his case involves state secrets.

- Human Rights in China

Hanged to protest at being evicted, 56-year-old man’s Body Snatched by 200 Police in south China


Radio Free Asia, May 26, 2010 -

HONG KONG— Authorities in the southern Chinese city of Changsha snatched the dead body of a 56-year-old man who hanged himself in protest at being evicted from his home to make way for a major property development, residents said.

“A vehicle came from the undertaker’s to take the dead body away, but the [relatives] refused,” said a resident of Changsha’s Rongwan township surnamed Ding.

“At this point there were a lot of police on the scene, some in camouflage, probably about 200 of them in all,” she said.

“Several of them dragged the body out, then about seven or eight of them lifted it into the vehicle.”

She said relatives had erected a marquee in the street to hold a funeral rite for Huang Jianhua, a laid-off worker who lived in accommodations belonging to the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China branch at No. 1 Baishaye Road.

Huang, 56, was found dead by a neighbor Friday, with a suicide note in his pocket saying he had been forced to sign an eviction agreement against his will.

The owner of a nearby business surnamed Xu was also at the scene.

“There were about 200 people: police, local community officials, and municipal management office in charge of the evictions,” Xu said.

“They put the body into a vehicle and took it to the undertaker’s.”

“There were a lot of onlookers as well … some people were taking photos on their cell phones and the police grabbed them immediately and wouldn’t let them do that,” he said.

Police confirm suicide

“There were a couple of elderly people I guessed were his parents. The old lady was lifted into the vehicle by four of five people.”

A police officer at the nearby Wangyuehu police station confirmed the suicide.

“Yes,” he said, when asked if an evictee had hanged himself, but declined to give further details.

A relative of Huang’s, surnamed Liu, confirmed that there was a suicide note in which Huang expressed his deep dissatisfaction with the eviction agreement.

“We are still in discussions about this, but so far there hasn’t been any result. We have reached an initial agreement and the body has been taken to the undertaker’s,” Liu said.

An employee who answered the phone at the Changsha municipal government offices denied the suicide and the tussle over Huang’s remains, but she confirmed the large police presence in the area……. (more details from Radio Free Asia)

5 kindergartners, teacher injured in 3rd classroom attack in China in 3 days


By Lauren Keane, Washington Post Staff Writer -

BEIJING — A farmer wielding a hammer injured five kindergartners and a teacher before setting himself on fire Friday, in the third classroom attack in China in three days and the fourth since late March.

State news media played down the latest assault, which occurred in Weifang, a city in the eastern province of Shandong, on the same day as the gala opening of Expo 2010 Shanghai China — an event the government is treating as an opportunity to burnish the country’s image.

The Xinhua News Agency reported that the students were in stable condition at a hospital and that the attacker, 45-year-old Wang Yonglai, had died at the scene. By evening, online links to articles about the incident were either redirected or returned error messages.

Despite the spotty news coverage, the government has gone on the alert in response to the string of attacks, which have left at least eight people dead and dozens injured. The Education Ministry issued an emergency notice Friday requiring outsiders to register before entering schools and ordered school officials to cooperate with local governments to tighten security, Xinhua reported.

All the attacks occurred in China’s eastern coastal provinces, prompting concerns about a copycat effect. On Thursday, a man wielding a knife forced his way past a security guard at a kindergarten in Taixing, in Jiangsu province, and slashed at least 28 children before being subdued. Two teachers and a security guard also were injured, according to Xinhua.

On Wednesday, a man stabbed 15 students and a teacher with a knife in an elementary school in Leizhou, in Guangdong province. The suspect was later identified as a former local teacher with a history of mental illness.

That attack coincided with the execution of the perpetrator of the first of the attacks, a 42-year-old surgeon who killed eight schoolchildren with a knife and injured five others in Nanping, in Fujian province, on March 23.

Public reaction to the attacks has been strong, highlighting concerns about rising violence in China and spurring debate about its underlying causes. Some observers have suggested that the violence reflects a society in transition that lacks an effective social safety net, outlets for people to express their grievances and adequate treatment programs for the mentally ill.

Xinhua reported that Wang, the attacker in the latest case, was distraught after local police told him that his house had been built illegally and would be razed.

Zhou Yingjie, a columnist for the China Economic Times, said in a blog posting that strengthening school security was only a stopgap measure and would not address the root cause of the attacks. He advocated an effort to remedy social inequities, quoting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao: “Social justice is much brighter than the sun.”

- The Washington Post

China school attack triggered by home demolition threat: family


(Reuters) – A Chinese farmer who attacked kindergarten children with a hammer and then burned himself to death despaired about government plans to knock down his new home, his family said on Saturday.

The villager Wang Yonglai injured five children on Friday when he burst into a kindergarten in rural Shangzhuang Village in Weifang, an area in east China’s Shandong province, where people were — like many across China — pondering what lay behind a recent burst of violent attacks on children.

Wang’s wife and sister-in-law said he had acted out of rage over officials who had told him that his recently built house would be torn down because it was built on farmland, which is illegal in China.

Wang had spent his savings of 110,000 yuan ($16,115) on the new home for his son, and claimed he had permission from the government to build it, they said.

“The children are not grown up and the older generation are over 80. We need him,” Wang’s wife Wang Sulian said of her family, between bouts of wailing at the gate of the school were Wang incinerated himself after the attack.

“What can we do? How will we survive? I need the government to give me an answer,” she told a crowd of locals gathered at the school, which housed the kindergarten.

The was the third attack of its kind in three days at Chinese schools, and the fifth in recent weeks.

The Chinese Ministry of Public Security issued an urgent directive on Saturday ordering police to step up security around schools and kindergartens and to seek to identify people who could pose a threat.

Some cities have taken measures to strengthen safety in schools, local media reported. Police sent guards to schools in Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province, while schools in a district of Beijing were equipped with restraining equipment.

SOCIETAL STRAINS

On Friday, the Chinese government opened the World Expo in Shanghai, aiming to highlight the country’s ascent to prosperity. But the rash of violence aimed at children has laid bare societal strains even in relatively rich parts of the countryside, such as Shandong.

On Thursday, a 46-year-old owner of a copy store stabbed 29 children, two teachers and a security guard at a kindergarten in Taixing, Jiangsu Province, a few hours upriver from Shanghai.

A day earlier, a former doctor was executed for killing eight school children in Fujian province in March. On that same day, a former teacher stabbed 16 students and a teacher at a primary school in southern Guangdong province.

In Weifang, the site of the latest attack, Wang Sulian showed Reuters a copy of a demolition notice, as well as documents that she said proved the family had obtained official permission to build on the land.

A local official, who gave his surname as Yu, denied that that the family had received permission to build the house and said five other families were also told to demolish their new houses, because they occupied farmland.

Wang’s sister-in-law Wang Haiyun said he had been recently pressured by officials into signing an agreement to allow demolition.

“They forced him into it. There was nothing he could do. It made him mad,” she said. “He would hit his wife and children. He kicked the door in. He couldn’t carry on living.”

- Reuters

Forced Evictions Over Dam in Southwestern China


Radio Free Asia, 2010-04-26 -

HONG KONG
— Authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan have begun demolishing houses and forcing people from their homes near the Pubugou hydroelectic power project, which is due to go into operation soon.

“They are forcibly demolishing houses,” a resident of Hanyuan county, where the evictions took place, said.

“They all came together in the night. The armed police, the regular police, the county Party secretary and officials,” said the resident, surnamed Cao.

The controversial Pubugou project, a series of ladder-like dams on Sichuan’s mountainous Dadu river, has sparked protests and armed confrontation in the past, with the army moving into the area to quell angry protests in 2004.

A total of 100,000 people will eventually be displaced by the project, which is part of Beijing’s key infrastructure investment program aimed at boosting economic growth and relieving poverty in China’s lagging western regions.

Villagers have kept up an angry and vocal protest, but according to a company announcement, the third phase of the Dadu project at Pubugou is scheduled to begin operation any day now.

‘Dead of night’

“By about 10 p.m. there were a few hundred [residents] surrounded by them,” Hanyuan resident Cao said.

“The Chinese Communist Party is supposed to be stout-hearted and honest. How come they are doing things in the dead of night?”

He said the demolition work went on until around 5 a.m. Sunday.

“They demolished one house,” Cao said.

“They were at work until dawn. They said it had to be demolished.”

He said the evicted family had nowhere else to go, and were now living in a tent on the mountainside.

A second Hanyuan resident surnamed Bai said the government was behaving unreasonably.

“They don’t listen to reason and they don’t even follow their own policies,” Bai said.

After the last violent standoff in 2004, the central government ordered more compensation for relocating residents from 320 yuan (U.S. $38) per square meter of living space to 428 yuan (U.S. $51), according to local media reports.( Radio Free Asia)

High House Price vs Affordability in China


(excerpt) Chen Pokong, via secretchina.com -

……

Talking about forced relocation, it is closely associated with high house prices. At the time when China and the rest of the world were experiencing an economic crisis in 2009, house prices in China went against the trend and shot up. Based on official statistics, the average national growth of house prices was about 24 per cent. The real data is even higher. Just looking at Shenzhen City, in one year, house prices rose by 80 per cent. In Hainan Island in January this year, house prices rose by 40 per cent. The people exclaimed and remarked: “The price is changing every day.”

Owing to the high prices of real estate, 85 per cent of the Chinese people can’t afford buying their own house. The recent television series called Snail House 蜗居truly depicted the lives of grass roots-level people in contrast to the luxuries enjoyed by those influential and powerful officials. The TV series vividly showed the painful and heavy-burdened white collar stories in the cities of China and labelled the people as “house slaves”. It shocked and moved the hearts of tens of thousands of people. Sharp comments filled the Internet and newspapers. High-level Chinese authorities, however, gave orders to stop broadcasting this series because the show pinpointed the corruption of current officials and showed sympathy to the small, humble people in Chinese society. These real life stories in China were put into a TV series in a vivid and appropriate way. Against a background of high house prices, it showed the corruption of government officials and businessmen who worked hand in glove to make dirty deals, seeking money by deceit and by force. It showed the wide gap between the poor and the rich, where the helpless minorities struggle to keep their homes or homeland intact, while the rich and powerful easily get what they desire.

From forced relocation to high-priced housing, the Communist regime and its citizens are on opposing sides. Tensions build up and clashes keep happening. Once again, by indirect evidence, it is proven that the Chinese regime, which became wealthy and powerful by hoarding resources and relocating people by armed force, is losing its credibility. To judge whether a government is strong or weak is not determined by how much armed force they use. Rather, it lies in whether a government follows the will of the people and whether it is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. (The Secret China)

Home Demolished for World Expo, Shanghai Petitioners Seek Just Compensation


Human Rights in China, Apr. 1, 2010-

As Shanghai authorities prepare for the World Expo, scheduled to begin on May 1 this year, the five-year ordeal of Hu Yan (胡燕)  and her family – whose ancestral home was demolished without the family’s consent – illustrates the strong-arm tactics of the authorities when it comes to official requisition of residential land for the World Expo. During the past five years, Hu and her husband Jiang Bin (姜斌) were the objects of official coercion, threats, and detention as they tried to petition their case to the authorities.

Hu Yan traveled to New York from Shanghai in February this year, leaving behind her family, including her infant daughter, so that she can bring her story to the attention of the international media.

Hu Yan told Human Rights in China (HRIC) that in 2004, she received notification that the small ancestral family home where she, her husband Jiang Bin, and her mother Chen Jufang (陈菊芳) were residing fell within the area selected for the site of the Shanghai 2010 World Expo and would be requisitioned. They were among the some 28,000 people who would eventually be relocated to make way for the World Expo. Situated at 13 West Chenjiazhai, Yaohua Road, Pudong New District, Shanghai, the house measured at 14 square meters – about 10 feet by 15 feet.

The World Expo Relocation Policy for the Pudong New District provides for compensation to those who have ownership of or the “right to use” the property, or have their hukou registered at the location.

Hu and her mother had their hukou registration at the location, but Hu’s husband and father did not. According to Hu, her father has been living and working in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region since he responded to the government’s call to help develop the region decades earlier, but plans to retire soon and come to live with his family in Shanghai. Hu and her mother feel that the family is entitled to compensation for four people, not two.

The two sides were unable to reach an agreement. On December 29, 2005, the Pudong New District authorities forcibly demolished the home of Hu Yan’s family when no one was present.

During the negotiation that lasted from mid to late 2005, the authorities put great pressure on Hu Yan and her mother to sign an agreement for demolition and relocation as soon as possible. Officials at the Pudong New District Gongli Hospital – Hu Yan’s work unit – including the director and the party committee secretary, threatened her with dismissal if she didn’t sign the agreement. The head of the workers’ union told her, “There is no rule of law to speak of in our country; the organization decides everything.” The hospital kept up the pressure in the two years that followed the demolition: Hu was denied bonuses and promotion. Under strain, Hu Yan even attempted suicide…….(More details from Human Rights in China)

Southwestern China’s Post Quake New Home Construction ‘Flawed’


Radio free Asia, Mar. 26, 2010-

HONG KONG— Residents of China’s southwestern province of Sichuan made homeless by the devastating earthquake of May 12, 2008 have called on the Chinese government to hold an inquiry into the construction of their new homes, which they say are substandard and unsafe.

The residents of Caoba village near the provincial capital Chengdu said the houses, built with some of the billions of yuan earmarked by central government for post-quake reconstruction, are already beginning to crack.

“We are calling on higher levels of government, Party discipline inspection committees, and law enforcement agencies to come out and conduct a fair and impartial investigation into the problems we have raised above,” the villagers wrote in an open letter, posted on the Internet and signed by more than 100 residents.

The villagers are complaining of cracks that have appeared in prefabricated concrete slabs, walls, structural concrete beams, and roofs across large areas of new housing constructed in Xiaoyudong township.

Some of the bathrooms and kitchens had already sprung serious water leaks, while structurally important parts of balconies had fallen off in some apartments, the residents said.

“The buildings have only just been completed and already they’re showing cracks,” one resident said. “We haven’t even moved in yet. They are still fitting them out, and already we have these kinds of problems.”

“We told [the construction company]. But they have ways of covering this up,” he said.

Moving in anyway

Villagers said some of their number had moved in to the apartments in spite of safety concerns.

“They don’t know what else to do. Their own houses have been completely demolished,” the Caoba resident said.

Villagers have accused the construction company of using substandard and even fake concrete, which was being delivered to the construction site in the middle of the night.

Protests to local government over these allegations have already resulted in clashes between protesters and the authorities, they said……. (more details from Radio Free Asia)

Elderly Man Self-immolates to Protest Forced Relocation in South China


Epoch Times Staff, Feb 3, 2010-

68-year old Zeng Huanjia of Yancheng City, Jiangsu Province poured gasoline over himself and set himself on fire in front of his home on Yingbin Road,

68-year old Zeng Huanjia of Yancheng City, Jiangsu Province poured gasoline over himself and set himself on fire in front of his home on Yingbin Road,

At about 3:15 p.m. on Jan. 26, 2010, 68-year old Zeng Huanjia of Yancheng City, Jiangsu Province poured gasoline over himself and set himself on fire in front of his home on Yingbin Road, causing extensive burns. He was sent to Shanghai Reijin Hospital for treatment and his condition is still critical.

At about 3:00 p.m. on Jan. 26, 2010, three policemen from the local public security bureau came to subpoena Zeng Huanjia’s eldest son, who was not at home. They met Zeng Huanjia who had just come home. The policemen stopped him at the door and told him: “If your son does not show up, we will force him to go.” Zeng did not want to accept the subpoena notice, so he said: “you are pushing me to death.” Then he ran out into the road and set himself on fire.

Policemen Standby without Helping

Mrs. Sun, Zeng’s neighbor, told The Epoch Times: “I was at home when I heard screams outside. We went out and saw him on fire. There were many people surrounding him. I called 110 (emergency number) for help. I was shaking.”

Mr. Shang, Zeng Huanjia’s son-in-law, said, “When Zeng’s youngest son went out, Zeng was already on fire. He yelled for help, so four of us rushed out to extinguish the fire. The three policemen were watching from behind. It took us a while to put out the fire, about 30 minutes. Later one of the policemen who had just graduated from school got a fire extinguisher. The other two stood aside and stole the subpoena notice that was left at our home.”….. (more details from The Epochtimes)

4,000 Forcibly evicted Shanghai residents called on China to hold talks


Radio Free Asia, Jan. 5, 2010-

LOS ANGELES—A campaigner on behalf of Shanghai residents forcibly evicted from their homes to make way for the 2010 World Expo buildings has called on the government to hold talks with evictees, many of whom say they are still homeless and lacking promised compensation.

“We don’t understand the so-called political issues that our government talks about,” said Shen Ting, the chairperson of a rights group set up to represent families evicted to make way for the event.

“We just want some sort of solution to the situation of people who were forcibly evicted from their homes,” said Shen, who is chairperson of the China Alliance for Victims of Injustice.

Describing the evictees as “destitute and homeless,” Shen said whether or not the Shanghai Expo opens smoothly will depend on the level of sincerity shown by the Shanghai government.

“If they are sincere, I don’t think there will be many problems,” said Shen, who is currently in the United States to publicize the campaign.

“The Chinese government is always telling people overseas what great results it has produced from 30 years of economic reforms, but these results have come from stealing property from ordinary citizens,” she said.

Hardship alleged

She said many of the estimated 4,000 evictees are still in a situation of great hardship after being kicked out of their homes to make way for the Expo.

“This is extremely unfair and immoral,” Shen said, calling on municipal officials to hold meetings with evictees.

“Any problem can be dealt with by sitting down and talking about it,” she said. “It should be a top priority for them not to allow the victims to be destitute and homeless.”

She said Shanghai officials appear to fear that dealing with the landmark complaint case lodged by evictee He Maozhen will spark a deluge of further claims for compensation.

“How are they to deal with the problems of 4,000 people? So instead they have turned away and refused to deal with us,” Shen said. “This is an unacceptable attitude.”…… (more details from Radio Free Asia)

China Rights Activist’s Family Sends Appeal After Beijing Home was Demolished


Human Rights in China, November 24, 2008-

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that, on November 21, 2008, authorities in Beijing’s Xicheng District used a bulldozer to demolish the home of rights defense activist Ni Yulan (倪玉兰), who has been in detention since April 2008 without a trial.

Her husband, Dong Jiqin (董继勤),has been made homeless and has been sleeping in a train station in Beijing since the forced demolition. Dong has asked HRIC to issue an appeal on his behalf (see below), to call public attention to the plight of the family, and for assistance to the family.

According to Dong, the demolished house is the private property lawfully co-owned by Dong’s family. Dong Jiqin and Ni Yulan have legal rights to the property. Because Ni Yulan was a rights defense activist, however, the developers and relevant government department never entered into talks with the family regarding issues of demolition and compensation. The result was an illegal operation, utilizing official power to carry out forced eviction.

Ni Yulan is handicapped and relies on two crutches to walk. She became a rights defender so that she could use the law to defend her own rights and interests. She also helped other petitioners and people who lost their homes to fight for their lawful rights, and was beaten and detained many times by the authorities because of her work.

In April 2008, she was officially arrested on suspicion of “obstructing official business.” She was originally scheduled to be tried on August 4, but the court postponed the trial without explanation. Ni Yulan has been detained in the Beijing Xicheng Detention Center and has suffered beatings and other ill-treatment, which resulted in her poor health.

The appeal letter available on Human Rights in China (HRIC) website

(phots) China Police Rob Forced Demolition Victim’s Corpse From Family at Hospital


By Gu Xiaohua, Epoch Times Staff, Nov 28, 2008 -

Crime scene, when police tried to take remove the victim’s body. (The Epoch Times)

Crime scene, when police tried to take remove the victim’s body. (The Epoch Times)

To cover-up a death caused by a forced demolition, police went to extremes to abscond with the victim’s corpse from the family in the hospital’s parking lot in eastern China’s Yantai City, Shandong Province. Currently, relatives do not know the whereabouts of the victim’s body.

The victim’s name was Sun Jianjun. His younger brother told The Epoch Times, “My brother was severely beaten on November 25, and he was in critical condition until the morning of November 27. The doctor said his body temperature and blood pressure recovered to normal, but then again, my family were notified that evening at 11:15 p.m. that he passed away after another medical rescue attempt. When I arrived at the hospital, I saw six police in the ward.”

“After the police left around 2:30 a.m. on November 28, I discovered seven police vehicles parked under the hospital building, and another ten arrived about 9:00 a.m. We guessed that police planned to remove my brother’s body, so we called all our relatives to come and lift my brother’s body and walked out the hospital together. Nearly a hundred police suddenly came up, pulled away my family members and relatives, and loaded my brother’s body in a car with plate “Luf8477” and disappeared. Up until now, we still don’t know where my brother’s body is.”

According to The Epoch Times reporter’s investigation, the Yiantan Municipal Police Bureau started a forced demolition with the excuse of building police family apartments. Before the demolition, the developer agreed to compensate the Sun family 1.8 million yuan, but later they cut the compensation to only one-third of the agreed upon amount.

The family head SunSier (the father of the deceased victim) was injured with an axe. (The Epoch Times)

The family head SunSier (the father of the deceased victim) was injured with an axe. (The Epoch Times)

Around 1:00 a.m. on November 25, around 40 people came to Sun’s house to carry out the forced demolition. They first set fire to one of the houses. When the family rushed out to fight the fire, they broke into the house and beat the family; three family members were severely injured and admitted to the hospital.

After the beating, demolition personnel razed the houses using an excavator.

According to the Sun family, they have resisted the forced demolition eight times since this past April, although they had repeatedly reported this to the authorities and local media, nothing happened. Their houses have finally been destroyed plus the cost of one of the son’s lives.

- The Epochtimes

Eviction Protests Quashed in Northwest China


Radio Free Asia, 2008-11-26 -

Authorities in Xingping, in China’s northern Shaanxi province, have launched a major campaign to evict villagers from their homes to make way for the expansion of a chemical plant.

HONG KONG— Authorities in the northern Chinese province of Shaanxi have launched a crackdown on villagers who blockaded a fertilizer plant in protest at plans to resettle them to make way for its expansion.

“At one time, the villagers totally blocked the entrance to the fertilizer plant, which caused a big stir,” a source close to the situation said. “There were some journalists there taking pictures but no reports were ever published. A lot of police and armed police were mobilized.”

The crackdown began around three weeks ago, he said. “The municipal Party secretary and the mayor both came to the scene to talk to the people. They promised that the expansion would be temporarily halted and the incident would be forgotten.”

More than 1,000 residents of Xiaofu village, Xingping city, are complaining about forced evictions with insufficient compensation and a lack of due process amid plans to expand a fertilizer plant owned by the Shaanxi Xinghua Chemical Co.

Reports have been posted online by netizens who say they are residents of Xiaofu village protesting the expansion. Those reports said villagers were offered compensation of 50,000 yuan (U.S.$7,300) per person.

However, the dispute arose over the fact that compensation issues were still not fully agreed when demolition gangs began moving in, the online reports said……. (more details from Radio Free Asia)

China orders evening curfew and street closure to curb unrest after new riots


By Ian Ransom, Reuters, Wednesday, November 19, 2008 -

BEIJING (Reuters) – China has told police to ensure stability amid the global financial crisis, while thousands of people attacked police and government offices in a northwestern city in unrest triggered by a plan to resettle residents.

After decades of solid economic growth, China is battling an unknown as falling demand for its products triggers factory closures, sparks protests and raises fears of popular unrest.

Rioting involving thousands of people exploded on Monday in Wudu, in Gansu province’s poverty-stricken region of Longnan, where 1.8 million people were made homeless by the May 12 Sichuan earthquake.

The unrest, which flared up again on Tuesday, saw rioters invade local government offices, loot equipment and torch police cars, though the incident appeared to be related to a local dispute rather than the slowing economy.

The Longnan rioting follows a number of strikes by taxi drivers and labor protests in the country’s major export regions, where thousands of factories have closed in recent months, prompting fears the global financial crisis could stir wider popular unrest.

Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu said police “should be fully aware of the challenge brought by the global financial crisis and try their best to maintain social stability,” according to the China Daily.

State media said the riots were triggered by a scheme to move the government headquarters to a neighboring county, which would force local residents to relocate, and had prompted fears from some residents about future housing and livelihoods.

Youtube footage showed police struggling to restore order while being pelted with stones. Pictures on Chinese web portals showed columns of armed riot police sheltering beneath shields.

An uneasy calm had fallen on Wudu on Wednesday, after authorities ordered an evening curfew and closed major streets and local businesses, according to local residents, who said heavy-handed police had inflamed the riots.

“No one’s rioting today, the streets are all closed … People will be snatched if they go out after 10 p.m. at night, so no-one dares to go out,” a hotel worker who declined to leave his name told Reuters by telephone.

“Actually, there were only a few thousand petitioners, but police fired tear gas which made women and children sick. This made the others angry,” he said. …… (more from Reuters: China seeks to curb unrest after new riots)

100 people arrested in Northwest China after riot over land dispute


Radio Free Asia, 2008-11-19 -

HONG KONG—Police in the northwestern Chinese province of Gansu have arrested more than 100 people after thousands of farmers fought with police in the midst of protests over a land dispute.

“One hundred seventeen people were arrested at the scene [Tuesday] but no one was arrested today,” an officer at the Longnan city police bureau said in an interview. He also said some 200 police had been mobilized to bring the situation under control.

Witnesses said armed police were guarding government buildings, and local hospitals were treating an unknown number of people injured in the clashes.

The Longnan city Web site said police had used force to disperse the crowd as a last resort after protesters attacked police and officials with stones, steel pipes, and bricks, and set fire to motorcycles, bicycles, and buildings.

The official statement put the size of the crowd at 1,000 but numerous witnesses said it was many times that number.

A resident surnamed Zhou said he had seen about a dozen vehicles transporting armed police to the area, who then searched and arrested more than 100 people.

A farmer, also surnamed Zhou, said shops in Wu Du district were closed for a second day on Wednesday.

“When I went out to the street this morning, all the shops were closed. There were six or seven farmers walking by the street, and then suddenly the police were beating them up and taking them away,” she said.

“Very few pedestrians are walking on the street. It’s like a ghost town,” she said, adding that police were checking identification papers of anyone trying to travel to neighboring areas.

Police deployed

After farmers from Dongjiang township gathered around local Communist Party headquarters for a second day, authorities deployed Longnan city police to quell crowds angered by the compensation they were offered for their land.

Witnesses said police used batons and tear-gas to quell the riot, in which the city Web site said farmers attacked officials and set fire to property.

Another farmer surnamed Zhou who took part in the protest said demonstrators were angered over their treatment by police removing them from a building site on Nov. 17, prompting a larger crowd to return the next day……. (more details from Radio Free Asia)

Thousands of Protestors Overrun Communist Office in Northwest China


By Samuel Spencer, Epoch Times Staff, Nov 18, 2008 -

People watch armed police from the side of the street. (The Epoch Times)

People watch armed police from the side of the street. (The Epoch Times)

Between 2,000 and 10,000 people protested and attacked a Communist Party office in Gansu province of Northwest China early Tuesday. 60 people were reported to have been hurt in the protests.

The numbers of protestors varied in reports —state-run media reported 2,000 protestors, and various online blogs reported that close to 10,000 people had been protesting.

The riots are believed to have occurred due to the regime’s decision to move its offices at the city of Longnan to another city. One blog reported that the move had resulted in the termination of housing construction for thousands of families who had been affected in the Sichuan earthquake. The May earthquake killed 275 people in Longnan and destroyed many houses.

State-run media reported that 30 residents had gathered on Monday to protest the reallocation of the office, but that the number had quickly grown.

The violence is only the latest of numerous angry protests that have broken out against the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

In recent weeks, numerous protests by disgruntled taxi drivers have broken out across the country, especially in Chongqing. The taxi driver protests were prompted by what many believe to be collusion between the regime and fleet owners to let taxi drivers bear the brunt of the fallout from low fares and rising costs.

In June, 30,000 people rioted outside the Party office in Guizhou province, setting fire to government vehicles after a local girl’s death. The death of the 15-year-old girl, who had been raped and murdered, was widely rumored to have been covered up by police and government officials.

The Chinese Communist Party has often used a growing economy to offset questions about its human rights records and its iron-fisted rule, but the recent economic downturn is now testing the limits of how far free expression can go under the Communist regime.

- The Epochtimes