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Listed up village #4: Beiyuan –generous compensation and good replacement housing

September 21, 2015

konjaku: Beiyuan village seems to have gone through a happier process than Changdian. The villagers were generously compensated, no accounts of corruption have surfaced, and the township government is proud of the replacement housing it constructed for the villagers. However, the only source for the end of Beiyuan village is one blog, translated and summarized here. This blog ends with several uncaptioned photos, which hint at some other narrative.

朝阳区来广营乡Chaoyang District Laiguangying township 北苑村 Beiyuan village

the history of the name, Beiyuan:

Beiyuan, as a name indicating a place in north Beijing, first appeared in Ming. The “bei” (north) means ”north of the city, “yuan” refers to a walled “garden,” used by the imperial family for hunting, and other amusements. During Yuan, Ming and Qing this was a lush area of grasses and forest, with a circumference of 10 li (5 kilometers). The imperial family raised deer and other animals, and built pavilions and terraces to admire the scenery. In spring and fall the imperial retinue came to hunt and enjoy themselves. During the Qing (1644-1911) the garden gradually went into a decline. When the Republic of China was founded (1912), it was made into an encampment for troops. Sometime later during the Republic, the uncultivated land turned into a village. During the 1990s large scale residential communities were built in the area, such as Beiyuan Jiayuan, which has become one of the capital’s largest such communities.

A somewhat different, less formal account from the blog:

The area that is now Beiyuan village was to the northeast of the capital. In the old days it was all grass and trees, the Yuan Emperor made it his hunting garden. The ancestors of the residents of present day Beiyuan village were those who did services for the hunt, and gradually assembled and made a village nearby. When the Ming Emperor Zhu Di overthrew Yuan, he built a number of military barracks in the area, and many of the Beiyuan villagers served at the barracks, while others did agriculture.

In 1958 there were less than 200 people in Beiyuan village, so it was incorporated into the larger People’s Commune of the area. In 1982 [with the end of People’s Communes] the Beiyuan village committee was reestablished. At that time. Beiyuan villagers made a living growing grains and raising pigs.

In 1990, in conjunction with sponsoring the 11th Asian Games, Beijing city began to develop its northern region. The number 13 subway line, running from Tiantongyuan to the Asian Games village, created a new urban-rural link that included the Beiyuan area. The Beiyuan farmland was gradually requisitioned for development projects. With construction of the Beiyuan Jiayuan, Taihe Zhuangyuan, Beijing Qingniancheng[large scale residential communities], many people from other places began pouring into the area.

Beiyuan Jiayuan


Beijing Qingniancheng


In 2009 there were less than 2000 Beiyuan village residents, but there were more than 8000 workers from elsewhere who had come there, too many for the already weak village infrastructure to support. The roads were bumpy and filled with trash, water and sewage were uneven, the lives of the villagers were severely affected. Sanitation and public security were compromised. In 2009 Beiyuan was entered as one of the listed up villages.

Laiguangying township took energetic steps to mobilize all relevant departments in a coordinated effort to address the public security issues in Beiyuan. Ten patrolmen were specially delegated to set up work stations, from which they patrolled continuously 24 hours a day. The township also sought to fix the village problems involving streets, water and sewage, with a concerted effort to stop illegal building [villagers adding on to their property to create more rooms to rent].

However, all these efforts were mere stopgap measures. In 2010 Beiyuan village was designated as Chaoyang district “reserve land.” The first step was to build replacement housing for the several thousand villagers, the second step was to demolish the village, and the third was to go on to new development projects.

The final demolition “grand banquet” [generous compensation] at Beiyuan village

konjaku: I have only translated parts of this blog directly relevant to Beiyuan village

2010. Three villages in Laiguangying township –Beiyuan, Baifen, and Liugezhuang were included in the demolition zone, involving 689 compounds, 1872 households, 3338 permanent residents, and 15,331 migrants.

From the perspective of society, demolition and transfer of residents is a locus of contradictions. From the perspective of one family, it is about the redistribution of profits. In terms of traditional thought, it is a great trial a person undergoes in the vicissitudes of the world.

Beginning in 2011, demolition of these three villages began. The villagers got a large sum as compensation, the majority became millionaires, with a few getting ten million.

Mr Zhang was a resident of Laiguangying township Hongjunling village. In 2003 the village was demolished and the villagers “moved up” to replacement housing. At that time every household got a settlement of several hundred thousand yuan. After buying a new residence there was hardly anything left over. But in the case of the residents of these three villages, after buying both a new residence and a car, the villages have enough left over to still be millionaires (1 million yuan is about $157,000).

According to Mr Zhang, compensation in these three villages was set according to the market price of real estate in that area. Rising real estate prices meant all the villagers benefitted. Taking a one story house of 250 square meters as an example, the total compensation amount was 1.8 million yuan. In addition, the family could purchase a replacement residence for 4500 yuan per square meter [as opposed to the market price of 21000 yuan].

In the three demolished villages in 2011, involving over 1000 residents, the majority received 2 million to 3 million yuan, with a few obtaining a figure over 10 million. The household of a Mrs Liu in Beiyuan village had 5 members. They purchased three replacement residences [in a multi-story building], and still had 5 million yuan left over.

In 2003, the average price estate price was 6000 yuan per square meter. By 2010, this had risen to 21,000 yuan. Villagers around Beijing suddenly felt like “land kings” feeling the value of their land going up. Becoming wealthy through receiving a high compensation became the prevailing myth, even though there had been such myths before.

Villagers whose villages were demolished between 2002 and 2008 in Laiguangying township said the difference in compensation rates were unfair. At that time, the standard was 2700 yuan per square meter, in addition to a 4000 yuan inducement fee.[a 250 square meter house would yield approximately a 675,000 yuan compensation].

But in the case of Beiyuan village (2011), villagers said the rate per square meter was 2500 yuan for land, 800 yuan for buildings,1600 for cooperation fee, 500 for encouragement fee [total 5400, for a 250 square meter house a sum of 1.35 million, although the total amount seems to have been more]. This itemized compensation policy was something that villagers before 2010 did not enjoy.

konjaku: this blog concludes, “below are four photos found on the internet. This writer cannot vouch for their truthfulness.”

The first photo is of a red banner. I can’t read all of it, but I think it was put up by the government  to convince villagers not to resist demolition of the village. Then two photos of a man wearing a white coat with slogans. On the front: “Young and old, three generations without a home,” and “ hope that the government will for the sake of the people…” [missing end of phrase]. In the first photo, the man is standing in front of government offices, Chaoyang district, Laiguangying township. In the second, he is standing in front of the Laibei Jiayuan buildings, under construction. There is no explanation of what is happening in the last photo.





Replacement housing: Laibei Jiayuan


konjaku: the township government seems to have spared no expense in building replacement housing for Beiyuan and other demolished villages under its management. The following is from a Chaoyang district government website.

After being under construction for two years and three months, the replacement housing Laibei Jiayuan is completed. This is the largest construction project undertaken by Laiguangying district. It wil house more than 3500 relocated villagers.

Recently, this reporter went to Laibei Jiayuan to take a look, and found it to be a graceful living environment, planned on a human scale, with a complete set of facilities. One can feel the warmth and care that went into building this project.

Walking into Laibei Jiayuan, on sees eight tall and straight, tangerine-yellow buildings, quite eye-catching. If one didn’t know beforehand, it would be easy to mistake this for a high-end real estate product. Wide and spacious roads are flanked on both sides by a huge green area, in which many timber-bearing trees have been planted. Even though it is winter now, it is not hard to imagine how this area will look at the beginning of spring. Construction and building maintenance staff are shuttling about, cleaning and making final preparations for the opening.

Summary: with 30% of the area devoted to greenery, Laibei Jiayuan provides a beautiful natural environment. The lay-out is spacious and open, but also provides opportunities for residents to mingle and meet. It will be convenient for traffic when the external roads leading in and out of the project are completed, and in the future there will be public transportation. For residents, there will be a large underground parking garage for 1200 cars.
There will be kindergartens, community service centers, building maintenance service centers, post-office, shopping, etc, a complete set of facilities for daily life, arranged all around the site. The building external surfaces have been built with new energy-saving composite materials that preserve heat, cutting down on heating costs. Doors and windows also preserve heat, and are soundproof. Hallway lights are voice-activated. There is a system to collect and reused rainwater.

Laibei Jiayuan has been designed to give residents abundant opportunity to enjoy the surrounding landscape. The buildings are oriented north to south, for maximum light, with 100 meters of space in between, and residences have balconies from which to view the scenery. As for security, there is a manned checkpoint for every residential unit.


Great care was taken in the construction, with strict quality control and inspections at every stage. The buildings are designed to withstand an 8 point earthquake. Laibei Jiayuan has received commendations on its design from borh Chaoyang and Beijing city.

Laiguangying township 来广营乡

Beiyuan Jiayuan 北苑家园、
Taihe Zhuangyuan 太和庄园、
Beijing Qingniancheng 北京青年城

Laibei Jiayuan 来北家园

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