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Zhongtan village demolished 1

June 28, 2012

konjaku: the previous post stated (2012-06-07) that ground was broken to build the replacement housing for residents of four villages in the Changping district. One of these was Zhongtan village.

Zhongtan village was previously described this way during its “era of prosperity” in 2010 (Community Management Transformation in Changping):

“Zhongtan village is located on the Number 5 subway line near the Tiantongyuan stop, to the east of Tiantongyuan Xiyi district, in the vicinity of the Dongxiaokou town office. The Zhongtan village Party Branch Secretary said, with sealed management they could reduce the number of illegal motorbikes, and manage the floating population more effectively.

Yesterday at 6 in the evening, at the peak of the after-work rush, the roads in the village were filled to overflowing with people, and illegal motorbikes wending their way. By the side of the road were many small vendors. It was as buzzing with excitement as a country market. Garbage thrown down by the residents was everywhere.

The Zhongtan village Party Branch Secretary said, the original villagers in Zhongtan number a little over 1000, and those who have come from elsewhere to rent and have registered as temporary residents number over 30,000. Those who have not registered are about 10,000. This makes a total of 40 times more migrants than villagers.

One villager said, around here the principal income comes from renting rooms. Inside the village area on any space possible, a building has been built with rooms let to tenants.”

photo Gregory Bugel, 2009

Below: Zhongtan photos by by Guohuadong92 (Click on photos for larger size)

In 2011 12th month Zhongtan village began to be demolished.

Although the terms offered seem to be quite generous, in keeping with Beijing city’s recent policy direction to avoid civil strife by offering higher compensation amounts than in the past and giving the villagers some say over future development of the site, some Zhongtan villagers were still apprehensive. The following is from a blog.

From a “Zhongtan village representative”

Three questions to those who have already signed contracts

Urged on by the promise of a small profit, some villagers have already signed contracts.  In regards to what  you might need to be concerned about in the future, let me raise three problems. Please consider these calmly.

1. In the agreement and contract you have signed to have your home demolished, there is the problem of the other party in the contract. That other party is the village committee. The village committee is not a top tier government agency, but rather an organization made up of village people [without much power]. If the  market value of the residence you receive in compensation plummets, if new business developments overseen by the village committee are not fully invested in, if the replacement residence buildings are built incompetently, to who will you go to get an explanation? Who can you lodge a complaint with if the agreement is violated?

2. Having promised you a small profit, can they really deliver? If the demolition and moving group say there is a profit coming from tearing down your house, it can only be from these two ways: 1, they fabricate the surface area [of your building, to increase the compensation payment], 2. they promise to pay more per room. But can they really do it? Fabricating the surface area is an illegal act, if someone reports it to the authorities you won’t get anything, If they are going to pay more per room, how can the demolition  group make with you a legally binding agreement? It is unlikely you will get it in writing.

3.  Can you determine what the replacement housing will be? What type of house it will be, how many stories? What has the the demolition and moving group given you as a pledge or guarantee concerning the replacement housing? When will you be able to move in? If what you get is unlike what other people receive, to whom will you go for redress?

As the demolition began, it seems some people were still hold-outs. The village committee used a loudspeaker on them.

From a blog:

Every day from 8 in the morning to 8 in the evening a high-powered loudspeaker is broadcasting. The decibel level is 90db on average, it sounds loud even inside a room with the windows closed. This causes immeasurable injury to the over 10,000 residents living in this area! It is hard for us to rest normally, and especially hard for old people and children. This is a new type of violence enforcing the demolition and removal. Residents in this area have complained many times, but with no result. The village committee says the responsibility lies with the town government, the town government sends us back to the village committee. There is no reason for this high volume sound except to persecute the common people! This goes against the principal aim of the Central Committee, which is to serve the people. This goes against Prime Minister Wen’s call for a “civilized demolition and relocation process.”

We need to defend our dignity! We need to be given back our normal life! Everyone, please pay attention to this matter. Strongly oppose this use of loudspeakers to harass the people.

konjaku: 90 db is the level at which sustained exposure causes hearing loss

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