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Listed up village#2: Xidian village, transformed into villas in the Ming and Qing style

July 30, 2015

konjaku: The second village on the list is Xidian village, administered by Gaobeidian township.

西店村 Xidian village
朝阳区高碑店乡 Chaoyang District Gaobeidian township

Each village on this list has its own history and specific set of conditions that determine the manner in which it will disappear. The reason why the new Xidian, after the old village is demolished, will transform into a set of villas in a Ming and Qing style, lies in its proximity to Gaobeidian village (a smaller unit within the township). Gaobeidian village, Gaobeidian Furniture Street, Gaobeidian International Folk Tourism Culture Village, are all newly constructed evocations of a traditional past, or an idea of the past.

Gaobiendian Furniture Street

Gaobiendian Furniture Street

Gaobeidian village

Gaobeidian village

Gaobeidian Furniture Street

Gaobeidian Furniture Street

The details of the settlement with the villagers are not completely described, but if the villagers (not the government) are ultimately really made responsible for construction costs of their new “villa,”there will be difficulties.

Beijing, along the Tonghui River southern bank, will build 500 villas which copy a historical style
Source: New Beijing Report (Xin Jingbao)

Photo: a graphic rendering of the proposed 500 historical style villas and two multi-story towers at Gaobeidian town, Xidian village


Yesterday the project began to transform Xidian village, in Gaobeidian township along the east extension of Chang’an Road. The majority of the villagers will live in the historical style villas, which will be based on Ming and Qing design elements. These villas have already become the choice of more than a few entrepreneurs, and the yearly rent will be over 300,000 yuan ($48,000).

This transformation requires demolishing 458 household compounds, involving 1012 residents. The early stage of tearing down houses and moving the occupants has begun, it is estimated the project will be finished within two years. The villagers are being offered 20,000 yuan as an inducement to vacate their homes promptly.

Xidian village is under jurisdiction of Banbidian administrative village. The Banbidian Party Branch Secretary Li Yunfeng said the Xidian villagers have three options. The first is to exchange their homestead for a villa. The villa comprises 85% of the surface area of constructed space of an average homestead. The villagers will need to pay construction costs of 1125 yuan per square meter, amounting to between 200,000 and 300,000 yuan, for which they can receive a loan.

The second option for a villager is to exchange their homestead for a residence in one of the two 16 story buildings to be constructed on village land. If the area of constructed space on the homestead is 100 square meters, the villager can obtain a residence in one of the buildings that is 200 square meters. The first 100 square meters is free of charge, for the remaining 100 meters the villager will need to pay 2800 yuan per square meter. The third option is a combination of the two, for example, if the village has a credit of surface area left over after receiving a villa, that can be applied to a tower residence.

As for the building style, it will coordinate well with the east side of Gaobeidian village. Further, the two villages will integrate with the style of the Shengshi Longyuan Culture and Creativity Industrial Park. All these will compose an atmosphere of folk culture along the bank of the Tonghui waterfront area. Those parts of the project which replace the villagers’ homesteads, can only be transferred to another villager, never sold outright.

Shengshi Longyuan rendering

Shengshi Longyuan rendering


Shengshi Longyuan--its actual appearance

Shengshi Longyuan–its actual appearance


Why does the constructed space of a villa amount to only 85% of the homestead it replaces? Li Yunfeng said, it is because they do not want to repeat a mistake made when they built the Gaobeidian historical style architectural complex. They did not leave enough room for the cars. In the new Xidian village project, roads will be at least 6 meters wide. This will enable cars to go in and out easily, promoting business development. However, the constructed space of buildings will be smaller.

Villager Zhang said, “If I buy a building I will have 85% less space, but if I can recoup the loss through rental income, it might be worth it.”

Is the “pieces of tile economy”[villagers building additions in their compounds to rent to migrants] going to collapse in a heap?

Villager Zhang said, renting rooms was our chief source of income. If we change to living in villas, will we still be able to rent and receive income?”

This reporter found that in nearby Gaobeidian, one third of the villas are rented out. There is a health club, grocery stores, etc. One villager said, all the villas located on the Tonghui waterfront are rented, and the rent is 300,000 yuan a year, or more.

Xidian villager Zhang said, he is preparing to rent out the first and second floors of his villa, and live on the third floor. “I am not against them [the local government]managing things, as long as they don’t harass people, or violate the law [using force to demolish village homesteads].

Li Yunfeng said, a number of small scale but creative companies had already expressed a interest in renting villas. In the future with the opening of the Qinshui Culture and Creativity Industrial Park, this will draw in new innovative businesses, which will greatly expand employment opportunities for the residents.

Reporter: Rao Pei

Source: Qianlong net

Xidian village is a small village, 5,2300 square meters, with 458 household compounds and 1012 residents. As one of the 50 listed -up villages, it is being demolished and within two years will be replaced by an architectural complex in a Ming and Qing historical style. As a combination of residences, and the Qinshui Culture and Creativity Industrial Park, this project will supply the villagers with both new places to live, and a source of employment.

“In this location where the urban and rural meet, public security and the environment are comparatively poor, therefore Beijing city has listed up this village to deal with the problem,” said Li Yunfeng. “According to the plan worked out by the government, the villagers have the option to live or manage businesses in the historical style villas or in the multi-story buildings. Because these are being constructed on the site of the village, the villagers will not have to separate from their native place.”
konjaku: to understand the transformation of Xidian, it helps to see a diescription of Gaobeidian village:

Mention “urban village” amd most of us think of a place where environmental conditions are bad. People pouring in, hastily thrown up buildings put up by villagers to rent to these outsiders, old buildings falling over, public security in confusion. Who could imagine that in the capital of Beijing, just 8 kilometers from Tian’anmen square, there is a 2.7 square kilometer urban village, that is definitely unlike the usual urban village.”

This village is called Gaobeidian. It already existed in the Liao era (907-1125), therefore it is over 1000 years old. According to historical records, in the Liao and Jin (1115-1234), it was an imperial grain and food transport center on the Grand canal. Today it is located between the fourth and fifth ring. Although in the midst of a busy area full of traffic, it has a quiet and secluded atmosphere. It is truly worthy of praise that this tiny plot of land still exists next to the Beijing new Central Business District (CBD).

When this reporter came out of the southwest exit of the Gaobeidian subway stop, going along Gaobeidian Road toward the village entrance, the first thing that met the eye was the rippling water on the surface of the Tonghui River. Next was the Tonghui irrigation canal, which runs through the village. This is the terminus for tours of the capital water system, one can ride a boat north to the Summer Palace, or east to Tongzhou district.

Crossing a bridge I came to the village entrance. There were rows of scarlet eaves and grey tiles, three story buildings in a Ming and Qing style, redolent of Beijing flavor. Strolling unhurriedly, down broad and orderly streets and alleyways, the style of the buildings was integrated, each with a business occupying the bottom floor. Everywhere the buildings paid respect to tradition while being new and up to date, it was pleasing to both the eye and the mind.

Going along the main village road adjoining the river, on which there were at this time few cars, I came to a traditional gate with “Gaobeidian Village” in large red letters. Workers were putting lights up in the trees, to welcome the upcoming Lantern festival.In the public square in front of the village committee building, groups of villagers in twos and threes were serenely basking in the sun. They told me the village continued to have many festival activities redolent of traditional Beijing: stilt-walking, home-made paper lanterns, Chinese yo-yo [diabolo] spinning, yangge dances, waist-drum dances, etc. The play with actors on stilts performed in the village can be traced back to the year 1887 of the Qing era.

[Summary, photos added, not in original] The reporter describes coming to a stone statue of the Yuan era (1279-1368) scientist Guo Shoujing, who personally supervised at Gaobeidian the construction of a key sluice gate (called “Ping-jin Sluice”) for the Grand Canal. Some stone remains of the original Yuan sluice gate can be seen. Nearby were two temples. In the 60s they were destroyed by the Red Guards, but were rebuilt in 2007.

Guo Shoujing

Guo Shoujing

the sluice gate

the sluice gate

the sluice gate

the sluice gate

In the past, the villagers could make a living catching the fish and shrimp left in the lock when the Ping-jin sluice gate was shut. Even today this reporter saw villagers fishing, though they say now it is just for fun. [End summary]

Oh yes! Today, each and every household in Gaobeidian lives in a three story villa. For a long time, the villagers have not had to fish for a living. Some ten to twenty years ago, one saw here a different picture: squeezed together one story houses, narrow, cramped, sunken streets, tangles of electric wires, garbage strewn everywhere…it was “a village without agriculture, villagers without farmland, who had become urban residents, but without employment.”

In 2002, Zhi Fen took the post of Gaobeidian party branch secretary. “Demolition was what we had to do, but if we had had to adopt 2005 standards for demolition, it would have cost several billion yuan. But if we didn’t demolish, how could we redevelop, with high voltage wires above and sewage pipes below?” The woman Secretary encountered many difficult problems. In the course of multiple on the spot investigations and discussions with village representatives, in the end Gaobeidian village decided the village collective would be in charge of building a completely new village. The model they followed was the already existing Gaobeidian Furniture Street. After ten years of great effort, on both sides of the Tonghui River, there is a new community dedicated to Chinese culture, folk customs, tourism, recreation, and antique furniture stores.

In 2006, the total yearly income of Gaobeidian was 1.439 billion yuan, and the average income of a villager was 25,600 yuan ($4,123). In 2014, in this village, in which permanent residents number under 10,000, the total income was 3.547 billion yuan, with individual income at 38,000 yuan ($6,121). It has become known far and wide as a well-off village.

Gaobeidian has received numerous awards and designations, as “ Democratic rule by law model village,” “Green and good living standard village,” “Most beautiful Beijing village,” etc.

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