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Tangjialing: ripple effects

April 2, 2013

konjaku: if Tangjialing villagers distrusted the compensation package they were getting, some of their neighbors had a different reaction. Urban restoration plans set off unpredictable ripple effects.

Demolishing village houses magnifies disputes among peasant families



This reporter has learned from the Haidian district Shanhoucun law court, that many disputes are arising over the previous purchase of homes in Shanhou village by city residents, disputes spurred on by the current demolition of Tangjialing village.  The origins of the disputes have the following history. Apparently Shanhoucun village still has a pleasing natural environment, but is also not far from the city proper. As far back as the ‘80s and ’90s,  the local peasants began selling their own family homes which had become vacant for some reason,  to city residents. At that time, for a few 10,000s of yuan one could buy a decent house with a small courtyard.  When the nearby Tangjialing became a “listed up village” slated to be demolished, each Tangjialing village household received a compensation fund of 1 million yuan or more, based on the size of their village household compound. Seeing this huge economic benefit, many Shanhoucun villagers who had previously sold homes to city dwellers 10 or 20 years before, began to have regrets. They filed suits in the Shanhoucun court, trying to have the original agreements revoked, on the basis that they had sold the homes without getting the consent of all the family members.


The city high court, in such cases, consistently rules that agreements city residents make to buy peasant homes are invalid. In an absolute majority of cases, the court decision requires the city residents to vacate the peasant home, and at the same time requires the sellers (the peasant household) to refund to the buyers 70% of the appraised value of the house.


Judge Jin Chuan of the Sanhou court informed this reporter,  that the judges in his court have found that implementing this type of decision laid down by the city high court ends up creating two problems. The first is that the purchasers, the city residents, when forced to vacate, have no second home, and therefore no residence to move into. They are faced with the difficulty of finding a new place to live. The second is that because land and real estate prices have skyrocketed in the Beijing suburbs in recent years, when the house in question is appraised, the peasant family (the original owners) have no means to refund 70% of the house value, which now runs to a million yuan or more. The only way they could come into possession of such funds is if their village is demolished and they receive a large compensation from the government.


The Sanhou court is rendering a new judgement to resolve these disputes. The two parties, purchasers and sellers, enter into an agreement that if in the future the house in question is to be demolished under an urban renewal plan, the two parties will divide the compensation fund at a percentage fixed in the agreement. In this way, the city dwellers do not have to move out unless the area is to be demolished, and the peasant families does not have to be anxious about not receiving a compensation for what was originally their property. The Sanhou court is using this solution for all such cases which come before it.


Reporter Li Gang


konjaku: they don’t say how the percentage is to be fixed, however.


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