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Beiwu follow-up 5: Resistance

July 16, 2012

Beijing Haidian district Beiwu village man Xi Xinzhu, at the point of forced demolition, attempts self-incineration


2010-03-25 Source: Beijing Times



Photo 1:

His wife looks after the burned Xi Xinzhu

Photo 2:

After the demolition, Xi’s house turned into a pile of rubble

At the time the Yuquan administrative village committee  enacted the forced demolition  of his house, Xi Xinzhu poured gasoline on himself and ignited it, leading to the burns on his face and arms. At present the patient is out of danger.


Who is not telling the truth?


Xi Xinzhu’s younger brother showed the contract of sale for Xi Xinzhu’s house. Dated 1990-07-18, it records that Xi Xinzhu’s father, Xi Jinsuo purchased the house from a certain villager Li  for 6000 yuan. Since that time, the Xi brothers and their families, five people in all, had lived in that house until the present.

In 2000, records show the Xi family was issued a building permit by the Haidian district, to expand the buildings within the compound. When the Sijiqing town government organized the removal from Beiwu village, the Xi family affirmed that the total area of their residence was 311.79 square meters.


This year in the second month, as the project to completely rebuild Beiwu village began, the villagers one after another moved out of their houses, but Xi Xinqiang announced that the village committee had never negotiated with them about compensation payments for the demolition and relocation.


On the 12th day of last month, the Sijiqing town Yuquan village committee put up a poster on the wall of the Xi family compound, demanding that they move out of their house by 12-15 at 8 AM, otherwise they would be subject to a demolition by force.


In response to Xi Xinqiang’s statement that they had never negotiated compensation, the poster put up on the house wall, stamped with the official seal of the  Yuquan village committee, says something different. It states that until the deadline indicated the village committee would negotiate, in a process mediated by the Sijiqing town government.If an agreement still is not reached by the date in question, they will commence the forcible demolition.


The poster does contain an offer. It affirms the area of the Xi compound as 311.79 square meters, appraised at 260,000 yuan. It offers replacement housing in the new housing development, the Beiwu Jianyuan South, consisting of one three room residence of 94.21 square meters, and a two room residence of 94.21 square meters, and in addition, a compensation payment of 640,000 yuan.


But when confronted with the evidence of this poster.  Xi Xinqiang said he knew nothing about it. He and his family members insisted they had no knowledge of it.


Yesterday evening,  Xi Xinzhu’s wife described what happened. She said at 2 in the afternoon, one day before the deadline announced on the poster, the Xi brothers were at home taking a rest, when suddenly the door was opened and a line of men in helmets and fireproof suits filed in one after the other. Outside in the courtyard, a security cordon of more men formed.


“They’re here to demolish the house.” Xi Xinzhu became stirred up. He was lying on the sofa. (Not long before he had been assaulted by an unknown person. His leg  had been broken, and he was still recovering.) Xi’s wife said, they had a certain amount of gasoline in their house which they used for heating. In order to stop the demolition, Xi Xinzhu sprinkled the remaining gasoline on his body. To threaten the persons who had come to demolish the house and get them to leave, he took out his cigarette lighter. But they did not withdraw, as he did not ignite it. She said she heard one of them say,  “If you are going to do it, go ahead and do it.” At that time, she was using the phone to call for help. Behind her she heard a sound, a “poof,” and she turned around. Her husband had set himself on fire. The assembled personnel quickly extinguished it.


The same afternoon, the Xi compound and buildings inside was completely torn down.


The next day, this reporter accompanied Xi Xinqiang to the 304 hospital to see his brother in the critical care burn unit. This reporter saw through the glass window that Xi Xinzhu’s face was completely scarred. He was unable to go inside because of the danger of infection. However Xi Xinqiang exchanged a few words with his brother. He said his brother’s state of mind is calm and at ease, and “he said he definitely does not want to sign.”


Xi Xinqiang said his residence permit (hukou) was transferred to this village in the 1990s. Therefore he is a resident [an urban resident, not a villager], under the jurisdiction of this residential district. Since this moving out of the area is aimed at villagers, he and his family should not receive the same treatment as the villagers, nor should they fall within the category of those who have to move out. At least, he hopes to receive in exchange market priced housing, not the economically affordable housing development –Beiwu Jiayuan South.




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