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Listed up village # 3: Changdian –corrupt officials and violent tactics

September 4, 2015

konjaku: the demolition of Changdian village involved corruption, resistance, and the use of force. Accounts are incomplete, sometimes undated. A 2010 article describes the posting of the announcement to demolish Changdian, and the villagers’ initial reactions. There is no further treatment in news sites after that. Bits of the story can be found indirectly in other places. There were several artists colonies in Changdian which were demolished along with the village, and there is coverage of the protests waged by the artists. There are fragments of text, appeals for help, from villagers who refused to leave their homes, from which we can assume there was a period of resistance to the demolition. Also, Changdian appears in coverage of the corruption of local officials, who seized village property or absconded with funds which were supposed to be used as compensation for villagers losing their homes.

北京朝阳金盏乡长店村 Beijing city Chaoyang district Jinzhan township Changdian village

A photo of Changdian village from Google satelite (copied 08-2015) shows most of the structures cleared away. On the bottom right corner is a section of the golf course (referred to below).

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 9.51.44 AM

Beijing city Jinzhan town Changdian village undergoes demolition and removal of residents –one’s native land is hard to part from

http://news.dichan.sina.com.cn/2010/03/25/138515.html

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Photo caption: several days after the announcement concerning the demolition and transfer of the village residents was posted in Changdian village, it is already full of ads stuck onto it by moving companies

Starting today, demolition begins in Changdian, one of the 50 listed up villages. The announcement states that those who move out of their homes within the stipulated time period, between 03-25 and 04-13 will receive an award of 160,000 yuan ($25,767). Those who choose to move into the prescribed replacement housing, will be exempted from paying the building maintenance fee for two years.

In regard to those who do not reach an agreement with the government as to compensation within the time limit, once the deadline for demolition has passed, the district government approves the use of force to demolish their homes and move them elsewhere.

Although it has been five days since the announcement to vacate has been posted, among the villages there has been little movement to comply. The announcement pasted at the village entrance is in tatters, while clustered on walls everywhere are ads from moving companies.

This morning, the villagers have all received estimates regarding their property. They are being offered 6000 yuan per square meter of their current homes, which is quite tempting. But, “They can’t expect us to move!” Many have lived on this land for generations, and a number of old people are reluctant to leave, “if I can speak my mind, however much money they give us, we are not willing to go.”

Those whose houses are being demolished, can choose to receive either a monetary settlement or replacement housing. Those who choose the monetary compensation, cannot participate in the replacement housing. If they choose to buy replacement housing, the standard is that the price of 50 square meters per person will be 4500 yuan per square meter. If the area of the new residence comes out to more than 50 square meters per person, they will have to pay 7000 yuan for each additional square meter.

Reporter Zhao Chao

konjaku: the artists zones and Changdian:

“Current State of Chinese Art” Wang Chunchen

“ Then [at the start of an art boom in 2000], at the rural-urban continuum of the northeast outskirts of Beijing, artists’ work areas such as Suojiafen, Feijiafen, wine factory, No.1 field, Caochangdi, Huantie, Jiangfu, Xiedao, Changdian, Nangao, Beigao, and Black Bridge appeared one after another. Most of these new art zones are owned by peasants or investors and rented to the painters or artists. However, in 2009 many of these art zones such as Zhengyang, 008, Dongying, Beigao, soon were demolished so that the land could be used for real estate development.” p 288

in Subversive Strategies in Contemporary Chinese Art, ed Mary Wiseman, Liu Yuedi, Brill, 2011

In one sweep Chaoyang New City demolishes 20 artists zones
http://jzx.jinrongxuewang.cn/i/g/g.html

In the middle of January, at the 008 artist colony in Changdian village, an art performance entitled “Warm Winter” was in progress, expressing that the site was under threat of demolition. As captured in video, a gang of young toughs rushed in to the exhibit to ruin the performance. They tore down the posters, chased and beat the artists, causing injuries. Although the artists resisted with force and spirit, the out-of-control situation went on for along time
Zhang Xiaotao’s 15 year old student Wang Yuanhai, had studied emei style kung fu, and he used his skills to rescue the artists, who were surrounded by attackers.

[for a photo record of “Warm Winter” see
http://blog.artintern.net/blogs/articleinfo/jinzidejia/78843%5D

The underlying reason the artists were attacked, lies in Beijing’s strategy of eastern expansion. In Chaoyang’s 34 square kilometers, there is a three year plan to set aside land in reserve to develop the Chaoyang New City in the future, mostly in the townships in east Chaoyang, involving a population of 100,000 people. In the Chaoyang New City there will be built the fourth diplomatic quarter, a business zone associated with the airport, a large scale residential district, and a financial support systems zone. This New City is rapidly rising out of the ground.

The more than 20 artists colonies sprang up in a spontaneous and disorderly manner on the urban fringe zone of Chaoyang, were by no means included in the plan for the Chaoyang New City. They have already had to experience having their water, electricity, heat, etc cut off, in the attempt to force them to vacate. The artists and supporters have mounted a resistance, leading to a stalemate.

Jiangfu zhuangyuan is in Chaoyang, in Jiangtai township, 10 minutes from the 798 artist colony by car. Artist Zhang Xiaotao was at 798 for four years, but finding the space too cramped, three years ago he and his friends Yu Fan and Wang Wei, also from the Sichuan Fine Arts Academy, decided to move to Jiangfu. Jiangfu was quieter, more undeveloped, with more open space, and the rent was one third of what he was paying at 798. They were able to take over a half-built warehouse, and spent three months finishing it, floor, walls, and roof-beams.

Zhang Xiaotao’s happiness lasted for four months. Not long after the renovations were complete, he received a notice, “Chaoyang district cites this as an illegal building.” The owner of the property, Zhang Xiaotao’s landlord, had outstanding loans and unpaid mortgages. Because the Olympics were approaching, the government refrained from using force to move him out and demolish the building. In the meantime, one after another, some 50 artists moved to Jiangfu. Things seemed calm and settled, therefore Zhang Xiaotao put aside his worries and concentrated on his work. A year and a half passed. Then, 2009-06, policeman holding police dogs came to his door, with a comprehensive order to demolish the building.

In short, the township had property rights to the land, which they sold to a big developer named Jiangfu International. The developer was planning to build a complex of residences for senior citizens (Jiangfu Manor International Senior Citizens Villas) on a large tract of land which included Zhang Xiaotao’s studio. The artists had spent time and money renovating their buildings, but for the time being they were not being offered any compensation. As soon as the artists were forced out, Jiangfu International sealed off the main entrance and built living quarters for laborers inside the compound.

Summary: “we artists were at first shocked, we started to reconsider our connection to society.” They held meetings to plan a counter-strategy. “Up to now we had dealt with intellectual matters, not action. We had the freedom to go abroad, to leave China and come back again, but when it came to a political fight, we saw we were not significant.” In the end, they decided not to try and wage a legal fight. Because the buildings were illegal to begin with, the judgement would not be in their favor. Instead, they held exhibits to rally public support. They garnered enough interest and media attention, that the threat of forcible demolition was lifted. The artists cracked open the sealed door to their compound and moved back in, and the big developer even helped them, by repaving the small road that led to their building.

Currently the Jiangfu Manor International Senior Citizens Villas are under construction. The artists are living peacefully, they have a contract allowing them to stay till 2013. [end summary]

While the Jiangfu artists were successful in preserving their colony, three kilometers away, the Zhengyang 008 colony is caught up in an intense conflict. At Jinzhan town Changdian village, a right turn off the Airport Expressway, in a line there is a Shanxi hand-cut noodle restaurant, a cell phone store, a grocery, and a beauty parlor. Within three years, the Beijing Finance Support Systems Center wil be constructed there, an industrial park that will manufacture credit cards and other banking products.

Most of the buildings of Changdian village have already been demolished, and the villages are supposed to “move up” into new high rises. The village homesteads are empty land, held in reserve to build the Financial Support Center and the 4th Diplomatic Quarter. The village party branch secretary Wang Zhenshan i nervously telephoned the artists, “If I am unable to hold onto my job [because I can’t get you to leave], I’ll be eating dinner at your house.”

But after a two hour telephone conversation, the artists were not convinced. As a result, the 008 colony became the subject of repeated surprise attacks. 11-26 they received notice to move out in one week. This despite the fact that they had paid a half years rent in advance to the landlord. On 12-04 at 6 in the morning their landlord dismantled the electric transformer at their building. Soon they were plunged into a primitive existence, without power, heat, running water, or lights (adjacent streetlights were also turned off). Zhang Wei recollected that the oldest of their group was over sixty, and the youngest was a three year old child. Without heat, the temperature was 13 degrees below zero.

The artists rented a generator, but were subject to night attacks. Unknown persons broke in late at night and with iron clubs smashed car windows, building windows, completely destroyed a glass atrium, and stole artworks.

konjaku: this source does not give the conclusion to the conflict.

More details in English (scroll down) on the conflict:
http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_46cde4250100ft6j.html

konjaku: an appeal from the village( undated):

http://weibo.com/guoyang1007
I write to appeal: my home is in Changdian village, which is undergoing demolition. About half of the residents still have not vacated. They have already cut off the water supply, making it difficult for us to live normally. The state has forbidden demolition by force, so the town government is using this kind of pressure, which is just force in a disguised form. We the villagers have written countless appeals to the higher authorities, therefore they are aware of the situation, but the water is still cut off. Friends, please reprint this appeal, we hope to generate support and get the attention of the relevant government department, to quickly resolve this matter.

konjaku:  reports of corruption:

http://jzx.jinrongxuewang.cn/g/r/b.html

In 2009 Changdian village received the notice of demolition and transfer of residents. The problem of corruption in the village was very severe. The common people reported to our Party and to the nation the extent of the corruption in Changdian. The cadres fraudulently took money meant for compensation of vilagers, among them was a policeman of the local police sub-station. Yang Guogang, head of demolition, a native of Changdian, illegally appropriated funds. Jinzhan township head Changyu Gang, secretly divided up replacement housing, to the profit of the cadres. The township and village sold land, constructed a hot spring resort and a golf course, which caused problems with the village ground water supply. But what of these? They are just a drop in the bucket of corruption in Jinzhan. We wish that correspondents of the people, people from all walks of life, would come and see with their own eyes the real situation here.

Jinzhan township head Changyu Gang, Village Committee Chairman Liu Jinku, Changdian village Secretary Wang Zhenshan, and Changdian villages cadres broke both precedent and the law. For a low price they contracted out village collective land, constructed an artist’s village, then forced the artists to terminate their lease, misappropriated the village land.

Liu Jinku, the Changdian village committee head, Before 1996 he sold his own homestead and buildings to someone else (Liu Shulan). He built buildings on 1000 square meters of village collective land, land that was not for commercial use, then rented out the buildings. When it came time to demolish, all of a sudden there were seven permanent residences attached to the land. In this way Liu Jinku fraudulently collected compensation on this land, along with several other persons, one of whom was a policeman of the Jinzhan township sub-station. Liu Jinku and his wife divorced, in order to create another “household” eligible for compensation. Village collective land is the property of the nation. By appropriating this land for his own purposes, he violated national property. When 1000 square meters of land was used to get compensation for homesteads that never existed, where did this money go?

Liu Jingang (Liu Jinku’s younger brother) rented six acres of village land, saying it was in order to grow crops, but he built on part of the property, and kept expanding the buildings. When it was time to demolish he submitted the figure of 220,000 square meters of constructed space (for which he would receive compensation). Just like his brother, he enriched himself with public land. Using his brother’s authority as village committee head, he rented village collective land at a low price, built an artists’ village, which was done without approval or the villagers’ knowledge. When demolition of the village began in 2009, the artists raised a protest. Liu Jingang assembled 50 employees, who threatened and intimidated the artists. He forced the artists to terminate their lease, and took over the land in order to collect compensation for the buildings.

Li Jingmin, director of a demolition company, made a contract with the Changdian vilage committee for 60 acres of land, consisting of vegetable fields. He changed the land into a Refuse Acceptance Disposal Site, which collected the refuse acceptance fee for every truck that dumped a load there. On top of the refuse mound they built day and night a huge shack, for the purpose of collecting compensation money illegally.

Yang Guogang, the Jinzhan township demolition head. For his homestead of 225 square meters he received 40 million yuan, while villagers with homesteads of an equivalent size, received 26-28 million yuan.

The village committee, in order to demolish the village, used gangsters and criminals, who taunted, deceived, insulted, threatened and smashed property. They cut off water, electricity, internet, and blocked roads. They turned off streetlights, and ceased security monitoring. They killed dogs, filled in keyholes, smashed windows, set fires, and torched cars.

Wang Zhenshan, village party brnach secretary, followed the same pattern as Liu Jinku. He took over village collective land meant for farming, and built buildings on them which he rented out for personal profit. When the village was to be demolished he claimed the buildings to be legally homesteads, and collected compensation, also divorcing his wife in order that they could collect amounts for two homesteads.

http://www.21ccom.net/plus/wapview.php?aid=37863

Source: Caijing

This reporter has learned from interviews that many villagers and cadres from demolished villages in Jinzhan town, reported to authorities that Liu Xiwu built up substantial “businesses” on properties in those villages of theirs that were slated to be demolished, during a period of almost four years. So far, this reporter has been able to see two of these properties in on the spot investigations.

In Changdian village, there is a piece of land surrounded by a concrete block wall. Inside there are three steel structures meant to be farmers markets. Each one is 80 meters long and 20 meters wide. There are security cameras, public security personnel, and guard dogs at the site. A village cadre confirmed the owner of the property was Liu Xiqu, and said, “This market was constructed after all the village land had been measured in preparation for demolition. Who is going to use it?”

Five minutes away by car, in Dongba township, on the west side of the Beixiao river, there is a breeding farm that is under the name of Liu Xiwu. It is even larger then a nearby similar one in Juzhifang village. The front gate is always tightly shut, but villagers who have gone inside say there are camels, peacocks, Sichuan ponies, dogs, a fishpond, and a sumptuous house with beautiful specimens of gingko trees.

At present, Liu Xiwu is under investigation. A Chaoyang official divulged that in recent years, there have been many complants sent to the authorities referring to his brother, Liu Xiquan. A Caijing reporter was given one such document from “a person close to Liu Xiquan,” detailing accusations of misuse of funds in constructing the green zone, replacement housing for villagers, Crab Island, Tulip Garden, etc.

notes:

For the artists Zhang Xiaotao and Yu Fan see
http://www.saatchigallery.com/artists/zhang_xiaotao.htm
http://www.artnet.com/artists/yu-fan/

The Jiangfu Manor International Senior Citizens Villas 将府庄园国际老年公寓别墅 is intended to be a state of the art senior citizens’ community.

http://bj.house.sina.com.cn/scan/2010-04-28/1140343468.html

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At present, the last few remaining residences at Jiangfu Manor (General’s Garden) are still available to buy, at a price of 15,000 -16,000 yuan per square meter, with a right to possess for 50 years. A buyer can move in 2010-10.

Jiangfu Manor is northeast of the 5th ring, within the green zone, next to the Airport Expressway, close to the Yansha shopping mall. Directly to the south of the project is a pier jutting out into the water from which residents can fish. To the west and southwest is verdant green forest, altogether there is over 2 million square meters of green zone surrounding the project, creating a superior environment.

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The Jiangfu Manor Senior Citizens Villas development has already been approved by the Ministry of Civil Affairs, as a non-profit social services enterprise, a model project for the nation.

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