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Beijing: Unification of Urban and Rural 3. Shoubaozhuang village

May 31, 2012

In the Inverted Population Villages, what Managing goes on under “Community Transformation Management?”

Source: Beijing Daily 2010-07-12

http://www.cnr.cn/allnews/201007/t20100712_506722047.html

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The Shoubaozhuang village entrance, in perfect order

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Photo 2

Kang Chunjing has been selling fruit for three or four years. Nowadays, she makes 3 to 400 yuan a day

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Photo 3

A staff member records and puts on file the villagers’ registration, in order to strengthen population management

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Shoubaozhuang village uses advanced methods in its community management effort

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Dashengzhuang, Laosanyu, Shoubaozhuang. These villages in the southern outskirts of Beijing, which no one had heard of before, suddenly became the object of heated interest and controversy. Several months ago, these villages with “inverted populations” were sealed off as they implemented community management. “Inverted” means that migrants outnumber the original residents. The words “sealed off” caused people to wonder, how could these villages which had been open to the world since ancient times be simply “sealed”shut? Is it possible they would restrict people from going freely in and out?

Last month, this reporter visited the area for several days to investigate. In Laosanyu, when the controversy was brought up, villager Zhang Dama answered with a laugh, “How can it be a bad thing? Our village more and more is like a community within the city. It is clean, secure, stronger than before.”

Riding the 954 commuter bus , this reporter set out for Shoubaozhuang village. As the bus entered into Daxing district, it stopped frequently at a number of villages. The ticket seller had been back and forth on this route more than a few days. “Look! Sanitation in that village is very bad, it can’t compare with Shoubaozhuang.” I looked where she pointed at the villages along the way, and saw piles of garbage by the side of the road, bicycles and cars parked at will in front of house doorways, dogs and chickens wandering about, cars stirring up dust as they flew along the village roads.

Shoubaozhuang village is near the southern 5th ring, subordinate to Xihongmen town. At the main entrance to the village, two iron gates are open wide. A perfectly straight road runs north/south through the village. On both sides of the road are neatly marked out parking spaces.Although there were many family businesses near the city gate, there was not a crumb of garbage on the road.

“Hello, may I ask if you have a pass?”As I got off the bus and prepared to get a thorough look at the village, a public security person stepped in front of me and blocked my way. After taking the serial number of my identity card, he let me go through. It was 3 in the afternoon, and many people were away at work. The village was quiet and calm. There was only a group of old people doing fitness exercises under the shade of a tree, some chatting with each other. When asked about the change, Mrs Wang Yizhi paused in her waist bending exercises and replied, “Since the community management started, the village environment is much better. Everyone is satisfied!” She said that the village leadership had gone to the city to observe and study the methods of community management, and when they returned they set it up this way: the entrance gate, ensuring public security, keeping thing clean. Besides that, they supplied the exercise equipment, making it easy for everyone to keep fit. “Because the environment is better, it has attracted many new businesses.”

This year, with the city extending southward, there are many people like Mrs Wang who were looking forward to an improvement in their living conditions. But while things around them were changing quickly, Shoubaozhuang was still a traditional village. Because rentals are cheap, the cost of living is relatively low, attracting many migrant workers. Before long, the number of migrant workers exceeded the original population of the village by 12 times.

With more people, more problems. The village environment became dirty and disordered, all sorts of people came and went frequently. Relations between people were not as simple as before. The village police felt they could not handle the situation with such an influx in the population, and life in the village lacked a sense of security.

At the village comprehensive management center, this reporter happened to meet Zhou Youlin, who had come to Beijing as a laborer. The Jinxing substation policeman Song Xiaogang had just transacted a Temporary Residence Permit for him. As a non-native, he did not think the community management was in any way bad. On the contrary, it made things more convenient. Previously in the village where he lived he had to make a 20 kilometer round trip to get to the nearest police sub-station, but this time, since this service was available here, he did not even have to leave the village.

In places where city and countryside come together, it is usual for the peasants to rent rooms to the large population of people coming from outside the area. This is not unique to the Daxing district. Because the village residents received monthly rents as income, they did not think much about the increased pressure to the village infrastructure. Now that has changed. Since community management has started, it should work to alleviate some of these problems. A villager named Ma told me, in her house they rent out five rooms, and receive a monthly income of 1500 yuan. However because the amount of electricity used in their house has increased sharply, especially in winter and summer, their old circuit breakers trip, and many of their electrical appliances are damaged by power surges. Up to now they just had to endure it, but she thinks that with the present community management, the electricity capacity problem will somehow be settled.

Businesses that have moved into the village are worried about the entrance gate. People cannot just enter the village casually, customers will be fewer, business will worsen. A Laosanyu village woman proprietor who sells roast chicken said that besides those inside the village, they formerly had business from passersby. Formerly she could sell 30 or 40 roast chickens a day, but now business has fallen off. But what is interesting about this, is that all the small businesspersons this reporter interviewed, including this woman, were not thinking of moving, even though business was slack.

The proprietor of Fumao Household Electrical Appliances said that because of the community management, he had moved his business to Laosanyu. His salesclerk thought he was crazy –the rent here was 100 yuan a month more than other villages. The salesclerk found that although customers were a bit fewer, the store still managed to do all right. She said, “In the other location, every month we lost something when a petty thief came into the village. It was impossible to stop.” She pointed to the shelves of DVDs, the soy milk machine and other small home appliances. These items ranged from several tens to several hundred yuan. They didn’t put these on display before, because they were easy to steal. All the thief needed was an accomplice to distract their attention for a moment, and the item was gone. In a month this amounted to a loss of 1000 yuan. The proprietor said that now that public security is accomplished, and there are patrolmen on every street corner, his mind is assured. Although customers were fewer, he felt his business would not lose money.

The restaurant owner Wang Dage said, “Previously in summer we set up outdoor patio seating, but we worried that the customers who came would drink and cause a disturbance. Now, public security manages things, so those who might create a disturbance restrain themselves. He believes that now those who come to the village looking to rent will be more rather than fewer. “With this many tenants, they will need to eat meals, so how can business be bad?”

A comrade at the village comprehensive management center said, “In the past, homeowners only thought about making money, and paid no attention to the identity of their tenants. This only poisoned the village atmosphere, and caused a drop in the sense of security among villagers. Renting rooms, doing business: these have an effect on the economy, but also an effect on society. The key is whether these effects are beneficial to everyone in the long term. In society, the idlers who drift from village to village are actually few. The problem is to influence the majority of people who have many needs — if there is a room they rent it, if there is a business to do they do it. If we can explain to them how this management can change their present condition for the better, these people will accept it.”

In Daxing, there is a village that started this sort of community management already four years ago, namely Dashengzhuang village. At that village, this reporter happened to run into the village party branch secretary Li Wujiang, buying something at a small shop.He said, “At that time we were going through through the SARS epidemic, and considering how to continue to prevent the spread of disease, we just put up a large gate at the village entrance and made everyone show a pass to enter.” Unexpectedly, this method of preventing the spread of disease became the way for the village’s sense of security to “recover,” and since then, this village has not had the recurrence of a criminal case. Last year Chen Debao became director of the Public Security Daxing branch, and he forcefully advocated the spread of community management in the district. Li Wujiang, who had not thought deeply about it before, realized that the experience of Dashengzhuang village was already an example of this method.

“Of course, the government only puts forward the idea. The villagers in these self-governing villages have the final say on whether to put it into practice or not.” However Li Wujiang believes those non-natives who now live in the village should also have a say in important matters concerning the village.

Not long after that, Xihongmen town convened a special conference of all the village branch secretaries. They came to a consensus, and together raised 30,000,000 yuan in capital (4,400,000 dollars) to fund the village community management. “The government puts out the main part. The people do not need to pay anything, but they enjoy the results. Who would say no to that?” Li Wujiang wasted no time. He returned to the village and immediately convened a meeting of representatives. Besides the villager representatives, he selected representatives from the non-natives –1 person for every 20 households.

The first item on the agenda was whether or not Dashengzhuang village needed to go a step further with community management or not. The good results of the last several years were plain to everyone. Therefore, without opposition, all 32 members voted to adopt the measure. Enthusiastically they began to deliberate what concrete steps they would take. What responsibility the patrolmen would have, what hours the main gate would be open or shut, what sort of pass would be required. Up to now the villagers had depended on their own wells for water, but the water quality was not good. Instead they would change to a public water corporation. Everyone would pay a 5 yuan water fee a month. Public health would make a united effort at sanitation work, the vehicles collecting trash would increase from once to four times a day. If more money was needed, the government would subsidize it. If a non-native resident was handicapped, the water fee would be exempted.

When everyone participates, everyone benefits. But the way of doing things can sometimes lead to misunderstandings. They made a regulation that a sign saying “Rented Room” had to be posted on the door of every rented unit. Chen Guiliang, from Guangxi, had a negative reaction to this, seeing it as a type of discrimination. But the truth is the posting of this sign simply made it easier for the patrolmen and persons involved in floating population management, to understand that this was a place where a non-native lived. They could then set a fixed time to drop in and check on fire safety, or drop off some informative materials. This did not mean someone would stare at him 24 hours a day. After understanding this Chen Guiliang decided not to move away. He and several acquaintances instead became more interested in village matters. When they heard that security sensors were going to be set up, Chen Guiliang and several other non-natives took the initiative to go to the police and tell them where the weak points in the village were, from a security standpoint, so they would know where to place them.

Community Construction in Villages and Small Towns — a Gradual Process

In rural areas provided with the right conditions, some villages and small towns have implemented community management, and in many provinces and cities there are experiments underway. An official in Daxing gave this reporter data on two such places: Chifeng city in Inner Mongolia, and Gongsheng in the Yao Minority Autonomous County in Guangxi. What is striking about the community management in these places is that it involves a comprehensive set of measures to strengthen the community, and the building of public service facilities in rural areas. The intent is to provide publicity for local businesses, social aid services, synthesis of government departments, mediation services, clean-up of the environment, and opportunities for literary and recreational pursuits. In rural areas, community management involves bringing the social services and facilities developed in the cities to the villages.

However, Daxing is a special case. Beijing, as a large city, is a powerful attractive force drawing all different types of people. Safeguarding the social stability of Beijing must be part of the equation. Professor Wang Taiyuan, a specialist at the People’s Public Security University, has done research on the ongoing community management effort in Daxing. He emphasizes that the most important thing for Daxing is to establish good public security. “In other provinces and cities community management has meant strengthening public services in the rural areas, but Daxing is different. Many of the villages have inverted populations, and most of the original villagers no longer practice agriculture. The villages have already shaken off the older concepts, and are ready to develop into communities [become urbanized]. To refer to community management as creating ‘sealed villages’ in therefore a misnomer. Rather, these villages are focal points in the community management of Beijing as a whole.”

 

流动人口倒挂村 inverted population village, with the floating population in majority

寿保庄村 Shoubaozhuang village

老三余村 Laosanyu village

 

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