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Dashengzhuang: anatomy of a village not yet demolished

December 29, 2012

konjaku: Following up on Dashengzhuang village. Dashengzhuang was the first village to become a “sealed village” with a police checkpoint at the entrance, surrounded by an enclosing wall. (See The idea of “sealed villages” in 2010 was soon replaced by a new plan, “community transformation management.” As an article by Zhang Yanling in Caixin pointed out, limiting access to villages was not an attempt to preserve the existing village atructure from being overrun by outside forces, but rather a preliminary step to tearing down the village and moving the villagers into  multi-story residential complexes, as part of a comprehensive plan to urbanize the periphery of Beijing (

In 2012, two years after Dashengzhuang was acknowledged as the first village to implement community transformation management, it is still intact.  That is, it is still a village undergoing community transformation management, rather than something being absorbed into the urban fabric and disappearing.

What is the “cultural blueprint” of such a village? Some pieces of a description:

Dashengzhuang village in Daxing district: a cultural blueprint of an “advanced public security” village 2012-11-07, Source: Jinghua Times

At present, Dashengzhuang village has 342 permanent residents in 167 households, and members of the floating population number 2142 in a ratio of 1:7. The village area is about 100 acres.  There are four sections, the residential section where the villagers live, the cultural recreation area, the industrial open economic zone, and the agricultural autonomous region. Dashengzhuang village has had conferred upon it several honorary titles, “ Daxing district environmentally conscious building development advanced village” and “comprehensive public order advanced village.”

Dashengzhuang was the first natural village in Beijing to implement community transformation management. 10 years ago, streams of people were coming in and out, there were many petty thefts and altercations. In 2006, Dashenzhuang village built an enclosing wall, and in 2010 a 120 square meter administrative center, combining the police office, floating population services and rental management office, fulfilling the human resources goal to have “three service centers under one roof.”

Modelled after city management plans, the village requires residents entering the village to show a pass, and for all others to register. According to the village Party Secretary Li Wujiang, since community transformation management began there have been zero criminal cases.

Li Wujiang said the residential area of the village is divided into 10 community management units. Each unit covers some 20 households, with one person in a position of responsibility over the unit. There is a dossier on every household.

Whenever any resident moves out of Dashengzhuang, they must first go to community management service center and give notice. In this way, the village committee keeps track of the whereabouts and movement of every person in the village, manifesting the idea, “use the residence to manage the person.”

In recent years, the area around Dashengzhuang has been  undergoing development, and increasingly, industries are moving into the village. The village committee, after seeking the consent of the villagers, has made an arrangement in which a business entering the village is given village collective land, and in exchange the villagers are given shares in the business, and draw bonuses when the business has profits.

The village committee  is planning and regulating the village industrial structure, to develop a cultural and creative industrial zone involving multimedia: animation,  movies and television.

Our village head.

Li Wujiang has been  the villager party branch secretary for eight years.

Jinghua Times: what do you think was important in developing community management?

First, one must lower the rate of public security incidents. We built the enclosing wall, set up an entrance gate, and implemented regular patrols. In 2010, under the guidance and assistance of Xihongmen town, we studied community formation and started an experiment with community transformation management. That’s how we became the number one natural village in Beijing city instituting community management.


Wang Wanghua has been director of  the village women’s federation since 2006. She has helped many out of work young people to find employment, and arranged to pay tuition to the small children of destitute families to go to kindergarden.

One winter day in 2009 a woman gave birth in the village public bathroom. The area around the bathroom was crowded with villagers who had stopped to see what was happening. Wang Wanghua happened to be passing by, and after finding out what was going on, she calmly dialed 120 (for an ambulance). Surmising that giving birth in the bone chilling cold must cause suffering, before the ambulance came Wang Wanghua ran to the nearest house to borrow bedding, and she wrapped up the mother and infant. Thanks to her intervention, the mother lived. She had given birth to twins, but unfortunately only one survived.

The truth behind the dispute concerning sealed villages –a Beijing village undergoing community transformation management

at the checkpoint


2011-01-02 Source Legal Daily

While public opinion is noisily disputing sealed villages, the Dashengzhuang villagers themselves are calm

While in the media there was impassioned criticism, with some going so far as to say the sealed village resembled a prison, this reporter found that the majority of the villagers were quite calm.

Initially though, villagers were apprehensive. Renting rooms to the floating population was the basis of their income. When they had an empty room, they posted a notice on the gate. If the village was sealed, people would not be able to pass by and see the notice. What they did not anticipate, is that because of the improvement in the environment and public security within the village, many people hurried there searching for rooms to rent. “In the past at this time of year, many tenants gave up their rooms because they didn’t want to continue paying rent while they were home for the spring festival. But this year, many people paid in advance to keep their rooms. They were afraid that when they came back from the holiday they wouldn’t be able to find anything.”

Of course, the villagers and migrant workers do have objections to some aspects of life in the sealed village. It is just that compared to the feverish debate in the outside world,  their objections are more moderate. Previously they condemned the inconvenience a sealed village caused to visiting relatives. But at present they no longer condemn: they know that village community management  is not to rule over people, but ti serve them.

In facing the public’s resistance to community transformation management, on the one hand those responsible try to educate further, and on the other hand to notice what can be improved and try to make it better. For instance, in Dashengzhuang the original plan was to make the village main gate the only entry to the village at night, through the checkpoint. The other entrances would be open from 6 in the morning till 9 at night. But the shoe repair person near one of those gates,  Gong Jiaying said, “ Closing the gate that early will have an effect on business.” The village committee assented to his opinion, and extended the gate closing hour till 10.

Hao Chengbao, the party branch secretary of Dianshang village in Changping district, said he believed the only real meaning of community transformation management was to prepare the villages to merge into the city. Before 2000, his village was out and out rural countryside. After Beijing city began to build the district of Tiantongyuan in Dongxiaokou town, his village completely changed. No one any longer cultivated land, all their income is from renting rooms to migrants. “In 10 years this rural area became part of the urban rural transition boundary, who knows how much longer before it is part of the city?  In tandem with community management,  probably a new village will be built in the form of a concentrated residential district. The villagers current residences will be demolished and they will move into residential towers. The village site will be an ecological park, the remaining land will be auctioned off and become the new residential district…”

“Villagers will resemble city dwellers, they will have jobs like city dwellers, their salaries will not be lower than city dwellers. But if in their life style they are still like villagers, sloppy and disorganized, I’m afraid it won’t work, it will take more time for them to advance, don’t you think?”

Editorial afterword:

Although community transformation management may make a good start, it won’t necessarily reach a successful completion without meticulous effort, and gaining the trust and consensus of the rural peasants.

It is the people –the peasants — who will make the final judgement as to whether this project of urbanization benefits them or not, and it is only through their wisdom that the project operations can be perfected. If all the people follow with interest our government’s project of community transformation management, especially the synthesis of all the different items of the plan; if they do not merely nitpick and criticize, but become the agents that mastermind the plan –only then will our project come to fruition with a good result.

konjaku: as we have seen, for the government a strong underlying motivation in the urbanization project is that it is able to acquire large sums of money by converting village collective land to state land,  and selling off this converted land (the village site with all buildings demolished) to developers. For villages such as Beiwu and Dawangjing, the issue has been how much of this largess will be turned back over to the villagers, as capital to help the village collective create some sort of functioning economic entity to replace the lost land. In Dashengzhuang this transformation has not yet taken place. However, the village collective seems to be borrowing a part of the strategy, by directly giving businesses village land in exchange for shares of possible profits.

Apparently the ratio of migrant workers to residents in the village is still 7:1, as in 2010. It is unlikely the migrant workers will get any portion of these shares held by the village collective. For the moment, the villagers are benefitting both from the “tile economy” of renting rooms to migrants, and possible shares in businesses moving in. Yet they are more in the position of being passive recipients of benefits from others which could alter at any time and leave them with nothing, rather than active economic agents with the confidence that they are producing goods the society needs.

A party branch secretary believes that the villagers lifestyle is inherently sloppy and disorganized, and wonders if they make the transition to urban residents. But an editorial voice at the end of the article says the whole urbanization project can only succeed if the people take it over and use their wisdom to bring it to completion. Neither of these positions grant the villagers much possibility of self-determination.

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