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Village #8 Longzhaoshu “we appeal to the city”

June 9, 2016

konjaku: village #8 is Longzhaoshu
龙爪树村 Longzhaoshu village
朝阳区小红门乡 Chaoyang district Xiaohongmen town

The transformation of the 50 listed up villages began as a Beijing city project. In order to avoid harsh social conflict over village demolition in the capital of the country, symbolically “the best of places,” Beijing city established generous compensation amounts and gave villages a plan to share in future profits accrued by development, as well as a promise to transfer village families to urban household registries. This would give villagers access to social security and other government benefits from which they had previously been excluded. The question is: can the city government offer these generous terms (even these don’t automatically satisfy every village family losing its home and land) to all 50 villages, and to all the other villages involved in the urban transformation project?

The following blog entry suggests that in the case of Longzhaoshu village, the process of demolition and resettlement has been left in the hands of the local, Xiaohongmen town government. The town government may have a different set of motives, and different pressures acting upon it, than the city government. The path of least resistance for a town government is to minimize expenses and maximize profits. Here the villagers are appealing to the city government to take over from the town government, and restore a more public, legal procedure with higher compensation amounts.

Beijing city Chaoyang district Longzhaoshu villagers request that you read this and repost!
http://tieba.baidu.com/p/1258421312
We, the people of Longzhaoshu, have written this to show everyone the present state of Longzhaoshu, and to put it in the purview of the city government

Longzhaoshu is currently being demolished, and the main reasons given are these two:
1) Longzhaoshu is one of the 50 listed up villages! The reason why we have been privileged to receive this honor, is due to the outstanding service of the Xiaohongmen town government. [irony]
For the past ten years, Longzhaoshu has not had any economic development whatsoever, this is obvious to everybody. The location of Longzhaoshu is quite outstanding, therefore Zhonghaicheng (a developer) has just come here to build market priced housing! This is something which should benefit the people, but the common folk of Longzhaoshu will get absolutely nothing from it!
Qipeicheng (a developer) has come here, and the land they are using is the peoples’ farmland, but the people are getting nothing for it! What they have brought instead is incessant air pollution, crowded roads, and a huge number of migrant workers. All this has brought about many hidden dangers to the social order, and the common folk are unable to feel secure.

May we ask, have you town high officials, living in luxury, ever given consideration to the lot of us common folk ?

2) Longzhaoshu is at the halfway point between the third and fourth rings. Because of its position, the city’s plan is to build there a two-way six lane highway, Longzhaoshu Road. This is a good plan which will benefit the people! A wondrous plan! We the villagers raise both hands in salute! This is a major reason for the demolition of the village. Construction is supposed to begin at the end of 2011.The city has given our village the death sentence!

The city’s projects are supposed to improve the quality of life of the people, but in this case against the township there is resentment that rises to the heavens. Why? Because the compensation plan is not rational. May we request a compensation plan which is agreeable to the villagers? Furthermore what has come out has not been publicly promulgated, it has not been a document certified with the seal of the city government! May we ask why not? Why isn’t it published officially? Is it possible you are taking a big bite out of the benefits due to us? We the common people will not consent to it! The city government will not consent to it!

As far as the procedures for demolition, the town government is not following the steps according to the law. Esteemed officials, are you ignorant of the law?

For the city, the road is a major priority project. The Xiaohongmen (town) administration, in order to get things settled before November 2011, has tried to trick us by proposing completely irrational compensation amounts. Do you officials take us as fools? Are we supposed to be the ignorant masses? You’re tempting us with petty favors, or using the carrot and stick approach. May we offer a bit of advice to you officials, if you want the demolition to go smoothly, and according to the law, then show your good faith by convening a public hearing with us, the villagers. Once we have together worked out a settlement on compensation amounts, then issue a public document, complete with the official seal of the city government, giving the details. The common people are willing to listen to reason and abide by the law, but unreasonable demands we will not assent to!

These are our fundamental demands:

1.Compensation for our homesteads must be based on the current value of commercial, market-priced housing
2.The replacement housing for Longzhaoshu village should be constructed as a new Longzhaoshu village to the north of the 4th ring. If that is done, we’ll move in on the spot.
3. Our village should be treated according to the same principles as the other 50 listed up villages.
4.After demolition, the villagers will be guaranteed reasonable housing until their new residences are constructed.
5. The rest of the details of the compensation will be worked out according to the circumstances
Over the last 10 years, the common people have gradually been losing faith in the Xiaohongmen administration, and at this point it has dwindled down to nothing! You have not allowed us to participate in drafting the compensation policy, why should we agree to the policy you have worked out by yourself? Since there is no publicly promulgated compensation policy document with certification from the city government by seal, even if we sign an agreement with the town administration, what guarantee do we have that they will abide by the agreement, and that our interests will be respected? If it happens that the compensation fund is not made available as promised, or if the replacement housing has not been constructed according to the schedule, what recourse will we have? To whom can we go with our demands, who can we negotiate with? These are the reasons for our anxiety. You [the town administration] make up a compensation policy on your own, and present it as a “little white booklet” without any government seal whatsoever. It is not reasonable, and it comes with no legal guarantees. Is it possible that you want us common folk to bear all the risks?

Therefore, those who support Longzhaoshu village, it is time to wake up! If the town administration does not produce a compensation policy officially recognized by the city government, all of us should not enter into any negotiations with the town administration staff members or with the demolition office personnel. Because this is an illegal demolition, a demolition not proceeding according to the law, you and I have no legal guarantees under it, nothing safeguarding our interests.

If the group in charge of demolition agree to your conditions, be very careful. While the township government has commissioned the demolition corporation, the township will not recognize an agreement you sign with them. They will say the demolition corporation does not have the authority to make a contract with you. Then what will you do?

Therefore, the township government must publicly issue an officially certified document laying out fair and equitable compensation amounts, as a prerequisite to any negotiation. Only in this way will the interests of you and I be protected under the law!

We villagers support the city administration construction projects, we support Beijing development, we support lawful demolitions! But the unlawful, gangster-like approach to demolition as practiced by the township administration, we are firmly determined to resist!

Construction of Longzhaoshu Road is pegged to start at the end of 2011. If the township administration does not issue a lawful compensation plan, there will be no progress made on demolition, and work on the road will not start. The full responsibility for this will be on the township! Eventually the city will send in an investigation team, then all of us will be able to receive the benefits we should have originally received!!! You township bureaucrats, then will you be able to continue to live in luxury? Will you still defy the laws, both human and divine?

Finally, we once again call out to everyone, support the city administration construction! Support lawful demolition! Resist unlawful demolition! Insist on prompt transfer to our new homes!

konjaku: some photos of Longzhaoshu village before demolition, taken from here:

http://www.mafengwo.cn/i/2830820.html

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konjaku: next, we meet once again the term “assisted demolition” which also appeared on government documents in Guanzhuang village (previous post). It is becoming more clear that “assisted demolition,” a concept which has no legal status but at least implies the consent or participation of some group within the village, is being used by local governments to get rid of resisters to demolition, by-passing the 2009 legal requirements against forcible demolition.

Villagers refuse to participate in “assisted demolition”–a lawyer states there is no basis to comply

http://news.qq.com/a/20110109/000036.htm

Wu Lihong is a resident of Longzhaoshu village. There are four members of her household, all original village residents. According to video from her cell phone, yesterday around 10, five or six men and women , in plain clothes, not wearing staff i.d. cards, delivered to her family a notice of “assisted removal” [from their house], According to this notice Wu Lihong’s father-in-law had three days to come to an agreement with the demolition corporation, regarding demolition of his house, moving out, and choosing replacement housing. If he did not complete this within three days, the village committee will carry out the step agreed upon by the village representative assembly, which is “assisted removal.”

The notice also warns, “ please remove in advance to a safe place your valuable articles, cash, bankbooks, etc. If they are disappear during the assisted removal process, the village committee bears no responsibility. Wu Lihong said, her ancestors had all made their home here, her homestead with garden was 156 square meters. Five years ago they built up their courtyards to create rooms for rent, which was how they had made a living, However, after the village had been included in the area to be cleared to enable construction of the green zone, over time the people in the village had gradually moved out, and the village rental market had vanished.

According to the agreement concerning replacement housing, the standard was 40-50 square meters for each person. The villagers would get a new residence in the Xiaohongmen town new residential C district. The whole family would get two suites of rooms, altogether 180 square meters. Since this exceeded the size of their homestead, they would have to make up the discrepancy at 1600 yuan per square meter.

Wu Lihong’s family was not satisfied with this arrangement, because in assessing their property, the buildings they had constructed for rental housing were not counted as living space [which would have produced a larger total than 156].

Besides Wu Lihong’s family, there were 12 other families which received the notice. “Right now we all feel crazy, we don’t see any way out.” The village committee head said, Longzhaoshu was in 2010 included as one of the 50 listed out villages. The plan states that the village at the latest should be emptied by the end of 2010. The listed up villages refers to Beijing city’s accelerated urbanization project through urban rural unification. Under the principle “tackle the hard things first, and the rest will be easy,” these 50 villages are all being transformed. “If we are unable to clear the village out in one push, the economic loss will be great,” said the village committee head, therefore they have reached the point of “that which you all [the villagers] will not do, we will help you do it, and we will also help you move into your new housing.” Therefore, last year in the 5th month they convened a village representative assembly, and passed the resolution that, “Regarding those households which hold up the process, the village committee will take emergency measures, and ‘help’ them move out of their homes.”

The village committee head believes that since the village representatives [who passed this resolution] were elected by the villagers themselves, therefore they possess the authority to represent the villagers as a whole. Further, to those houses which are holding out and resisting, they have already gone many tens, even a hundred times, so it is impossible that those households are unaware of their work. As for the details of the “assisted removal” process, a Xaohongmen Town spokesman said that these would be carried out by either people recruited by the village committee or would go through the demolition corporation.

Representative Wu Lihong finds this difficult to accept. She believes the village can find a more appropriate resolution. In the last year she has filed six suits. Even if they come to do “assisted removal, we will not leave.”For the past year, Wu Lihong has shuttled back and forth from the courts. Besides the six suits she filed on behalf of her own family, she also audited many similar cases at the court. In her lawsuits, she has demanded that the town administration make public the government documents relating to the village removal. She has demanded the planning department change the plan for Longzhaoshu village. At present she has lost all her suits, but gone on to file appeals. Nowadays, her neighbors have all moved away, construction in the village is ongoing. Wu Lihong and the other households which are resisting are like isolated islands in a sea of ruins. Around them sand and dust fills the sky, inside their houses they warm themselves with coal stoves and electric heaters.

A lawyers exposition

Yang Zaiming, a lawyer who previously drafted the “People’s Edition of Demolition Regulations,” said “assisted removal” has no basis in the law. Even if the village assembly passed a resolution on a matter this consequential, agreeing that the whole village has to be moved out, the law still does not give them the authority them to use force or impose mandatory measures on households which have not yet moved. This resolution still needs to investigated by the court to determine whether it is reasonable. Only a court of law can impose mandatory measures on the family of Wu Lihong.
Yang Zaiming believes that, in considering the demands on the process of urbanization, the national government has endowed local governments with many additional powers. However, in some areas, village assembly resolutions have been too rash. The result is that those households that have been ordered to move out are placed in a more disadvantageous position in regard to the government and business development. This does not relieve the situation of “hidden dangers” represented by the over-crowded village with inadequate infrastructure, but simply transposes those hidden dangers into the future.

konjaku: there is more about Wu Lihong here:

https://konjaku.wordpress.com/2012/11/06/xiaohongmen-the-wind-blows-but-the-leaves-do-not-move/

“ Longzhaoshu was in 2010 included as one of the 50 listed out villages. The plan states that the village at the latest should be emptied by the end of 2010. ” The following article, dated 2015, suggests that demolition of the village is still not completed.
A brick wall obstructs the road villagers use to go between villages

http://politics.people.com.cn/n/2015/0116/c70731-26394344.html
2015-01-16

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Caption: villagers must get over the wall in order to get home.

Jinghua Times reporter Han Tianbo the other day found out that villagers in Chaoyang district Lujiaying village discovered that the road connecting their village with Longzhaoshu village had been blocked by a brick wall, making it inconvenient. They reported it many times to the relevant authorities, but the problem was not solved.Now the Longzhaoshu village committee answered that the wall had been constructed as a management step in the demolition of Longzhaoshu village. They hoped the villagers would understand.

Yesterday afternoon, at the intersection of Xiaohongmen Road and Longzhaoshu Road, a number of signs had been erected, reading “the road is blocked.” Along the east side of Longzhaoshu Road, there were some 15 sections of wall, altogether 50 meters wide and 2 meters high, blocking the way. The wall ran north to south, linking up to the outer retaining walls of household compounds.

A villager said the wall blocked the road between Lujiaying and Longzhaoshu villages. “Sometime last Friday, this wall was suddenly put up.” Because the path is blocked, most villagers cross the wall through a breach on the east side.

This reporter found out the wall had been built by the Longzhaoshi village committee. Three years ago demolition began in Longzhaoshu village, At present, only some 100 families of the workers and staff of the Yuqi (jade) Factory who had been living in dormitories, have not yet moved out.

The village committee deputy director explained the wall was built in order to protect the security of those residents awaiting demolition. Also, higher authorities requested the wall to stop traffic between the two villages, on the grounds that it would protect the environment of the area in which buildings have already been demolished. “There are other roads in the area that will serve as alternate routes. We hope the villagers will understand.”

konjaku: later in 2015, authorities discover an illegal activity taking place in Longzhaoshu village, or what is left of it. This suggests that villages from which the majority of the population has left, deserted village sites, may become havens for surreptitious activities.

Inside a forty square meter shipping container, with one water pipe, and one filter, a metamorphosis occurs: the production of fake bottled water.

http://www.bj.xinhuanet.com/bjyw/yqphb/2015-06/01/c_1115466958.htm
http://epaper.bjnews.com.cn/html/2015-06/01/content_579792.htm?div=3

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Next to the Chaoyang district Xiaohongmen town Longzhaoshu village guesthouse there is a vacant piece of land. The size of eight soccer fields, it is surrounded by a high wall, with a red gate. Because the gate is locked year round, nearby residents are curious about this mysterious compound.

A resident Wang Laoliu (an alias) thinks there used to be an automobile parts warehouse on this spot. After that was torn down, it became an empty lot. After one year, it suddenly became active again, frequently minibuses came and went, but he could not tell what kind of business they were in. “If you wanted to go into the compound, you had to phone the people inside and make an appointment.”

By climbing a tree next to the wall and looking in, one could see, set amid the expanse of empty space, two old 40 square meter shipping containers.

On the afternoon of 05-21, this reporter went with the Beijing Food and Drug Enforcement officers into the compound. There was a minibus backed up directly against the open side of a shipping container. A worker was loading a water bottle into the minivan. The area around the shipping container was wet and muddy.

Inside the shipping container there were some criss-crossing electric wires, and a lightbulb burning brightly even in the bright daylight. A man wearing rubber boots was wading along the floorboards, in accumulated water several centimeters deep. There was some ten water bottles lined up neatly along on side of the shipping container. The man was in the process of filling one of the bottles. Nearby as a table stacked messily with anti-counterfeit stickers and company labels.

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image: a brand name water bottle with an anti-counterfeit label containing a security code

The man hemmed and hawed under questioning. “I don’t know anything. I just arrived yesterday.” He said that he was only responsible for pouring the water into the bottles. “The boss is not here. He is not usually here during working hours.”

What was the water he was pouring? He said he had collected well water from the vicinity, brought it to this workshop and was running the water through a charcoal filter, then siphoning it into the bottles.

The enforcement officials confiscated the bottles of water and his equipment.

During the second half of the 5th month, officials had already smashed six similar black water factories in the Beijing area. 60 staff members had been sent out, and they tracked down fake bottles of Lebaishi, Quechao, Wahaha, Binglu, Jingtian, Xiangshan Longjing etc, some 175 bottles in all, and 383 empties. They had also found labels for other brands, and 24 sacks of bottle caps. During the operation, the staff dismantled the illegal equipment to produce the fakes, and detained the workers.

Sale

05-18 a man with a three wheeled pedicab stopped in front of the Longzhaoshu black water factory. He looked around in every direction, then took out a cell phone and made a call. Soon a person came and open the gate from inside. After half an hour, the pedicab came out of the gate, loaded with 10 bottles of water. After covering the load with a straw mat, the pedicab headed off west. The ten bottles had labels of well known brands, such as Wahaha, Beibing Yang, Lebaishi and Quechao (Nestle).

After 20 minutes, the pedicab arrived at a stand selling water near the Chengshousi subway station. Without any attempt at concealment, the man brought his bottles of “brand water” into the stand, as though they were completely legitimate. The female salesperson working in the stand took the same attitude: she energetically recommended these bottles of “brand water” to her customers. She stated that it was the policy of the store to only sell well known brands of water. If a customer bought 10 bottles they got one bottle free, if someone bought 50 bottles, they got an electric water cooler.

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image: Chenghousi station

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image: area around Chenghousi station

This salesperson said that in her store Wahaha was the best selling brand. She stressed the water in the store came directly from the well known water companies’s production plants. There was no problem with the quality.

Ye Changqing said, a black water factory like the one in Longzhaoshu could supply some 20 such water selling stands, Each of these stands would have several 100 customers, as their price for water bottles was very low.

The water selling stand on Fangzhuangnan Road is one of those which buys from the Longzhaoshu black water factory. The proprietor Li Min (an alias), used to be a wholesaler who provided other stands with water, but last year he opened his own stand. He says water stands only need to have a Foodstuffs Distribution permit, they do need to have any other official permits.

Li Min revealed that there are several thousand water selling stands in Beijing. The majority are unlicensed, doing business under the radar. He says every few days he buys 70 to 80 bottles from the Longzhaoshu water factory. If he buys from a black water factory, the profit is several times greater. He can buy the fake water for 1.8 yuan, and sell it for 12 to 18 yuan, “at least a 10 yuan profit.” On the other hand, genuine brand name water costs him 9 yuan a bottle, which he sells for 12, adding in his expenses, he makes no profit at all.

Ye Changqing said, since fake water is cheaper, there are purchasing agents for companies who budget to purchase the genuine water, but buy the fake water instead, pocketing the difference. This happens in other social institutions, even in schools.

(This article was about several black water factories. Only sections relating to Longzhaoshu village were translated).

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image: ad for Nestle water

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