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Village #21 Huaifang: from village to International Soccer Town

December 14, 2018

Village #21 is Huaifang, in the Fengtai district

Huaifang village 槐房村( to the north of Xiaolonghe小龙河以北地区)

丰台区南苑乡 Fengtai district, Nanyuan township

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konjaku: Huaifang village seems to have been swept up in a boom to develop the southern suburbs. Village site land was auctioned off for record-breaking prices, and the area around the village is being transformed in a scheme to build an “International Soccer Town,” and similar projects. Replacement housing was built for the villagers, and a generous compensation was planned for them, but it seems that over several years there have been some missteps. The village Communist party secretary, Zhang Hong, is under suspicion of siphoning off funds for his own development projects. People’s Daily investigated, but as yet there is no conclusion to this story.

Beijing 11-09-2015. (reporter Yu Yanming). “When there is money, there is trouble.” Mr Chen, a resident at Dexinjiayuan, sighed. He, his wife and children were at loggerheads over the demolition compensation fee. 

On the day this reporter met old Mr Chen outside his residence in Dexinjiayuan, it was one of those days in Beijing marking the onset of winter,  with a fine rain steadily falling. Still Mr Chen was outside, wearing a thick wool coat, old leather shoes, and holding an umbrella, going for “a stroll around the bend”, (liuwan 遛弯, Beijing slang). If I hadn’t started a long chat with him, I never would have guessed he was worth millions.

Dexinjiayuan photo



On the north side of Dexinjiayuan there are two neatly smoothed out plots of land, which are part of the site of Huaifang Village, where Mr Chen previously lived. Around a week ago these two plots of land went on the market, and the final price was 8.6 billion yuan for one, and 8.34 billion for the other, about 17 billion in all. Whatever is built on this land will sell for over 50,000 yuan per square meter. 

When this reporter informed Mr Chen of this he said, never in his wildest dreams could he have imagined it.  And the majority of Huaifang villagers now living in Dexinjiayuan were also unaware that the land they were living right next had gone for such a high price, actually the second and third highest price paid in history for land in Beijing.

Mr Chen lives by himself in a 70 square meter two room apartment. Some years ago he and his wife got divorced, and now his wife and two children live in another residential district, having used the compensation money to move.

The transformation of Huaifang village started at the beginning of 2011. The village began to be demolished, and a portion of the villagers moved in 2012 to replacement housing in Dexinjiayuan, while a corresponding portion of villagers waited until the the first half of this year (2015) to move, because their housing was still under construction.

Mr Chen was one of those who moved in the first half of this year. According to him, together with his wife and children, the total living space for which they were eligible for compensation was 2000 square meters. They received eight apartment residences of 70 square meters, altogether 700 square meters. In addition, the whole family received 20 million yuan in compensation (2.9 million dollars) for demolition and relocation.

Mr Chen says that the combined area of the houses lived in by him, his wife, and children, was at the time the largest of any family in Huaifang village. He says at present there is one apartment residence under his name, two in his wife’s name, two in his childrens’ names, and three under the name of the man his wife married when she remarried, As for the compensation funds, there is a portion they have not yet received. 

In previous interviews, a number of other Huaifang villagers stated to this reporter, that Huaifang was a large village of 2000 families,  and that Mr Chen’s account of his compensation is exaggerated. In fact, the compensation rate for Huaifang was much much lower.

A village who moved to Dexinjiayuan in 2012 told this reporter that the Huaifang compensation standard was that each person would receive 50 square meters of space in replacement housing. In addition,  the surface area of the  homestead of each family would be calculated, and they would receive 10,000 yuan per square meter for their total surface area.

Another former villager said that, for example, if there was a family of four that had a homestead of 100 square meters, this family would receive 200 square meters of replacement housing, which would come to approximately three 70-square-meter units in Dexinjiayuan, and a compensation amount of 1 million yuan.

A 2013 Fengtai government notice on the urban transformation project of Huaifang and Jiugong villages states that the size of Huaifang village collective land levied by the government is 144 hectares. In compensation, a total of 1.58 billion yuan will be paid, with priority given to transitioning the villagers from agricultural to urban household residencies (increased outlays for social security and other forms of social insurance) .

This reporter was able to examine one contract a Huaifang villager signed with the village committee. This village family had a homestead of 152 square meters, with 76 square meters of built space. They received compensation for their homestead area, and an “encouragement award,” along with various subsidiary funds. They purchased four replacements residences  using these funds, and when the purchase price was deducted they were still left with 1 million yuan.

Since the replacement housing in Dexinjiayuan was not finished when Huaifang village was demolished, a number of villagers, like Mr Chen, were given 1500 yuan a month as rent money. Mr Chen lived for two-and-a-half years in a rental in Xihongmen.

A number of villagers said the village committee had promised them they could move into new homesteads with gardens after their old homes were demolished, but they had instead been moved into the replacement housing. They said that they were not given  property rights to their residences in Dexinjiayuan, which means they can’t put them on the market. However, this reporter looked on a number of real estate websites, and found more than ten secondhand units from Dexinjiayuan for sale, at a price of about 25,000 yuan per square meter.

A real estate professional told this reporter that in the case of villagers with replacement housing,  they must first wait for five years before they can sell. They must then pay back the combined deductions they received, and pay taxes on the market price value of the property as well as other outstanding taxes,, before they can sell (after these steps, they receive a certificate granting their residence the status of saleable property).

As recently revealed,  the first phase A-block of land in the Huaifang and Xingong village transformation project sold for 8.6 billion yuan. There are estimates that when the property is developed, the sellers will be able to charge 10,000 yuan per square meter.

The Wanda corporation also has plans to build a Science and Technology Park next to the Wanda Plaza. They are currently taking bids to raise the financing.

The Huaifang and Xingong village transformation project is near the Xingong subway station in Daxing, and space in commercial residential buildings goes for 25000 yuan per square meter. But the sale price of the A-block parcel and another plot nearby will probably act as a detonator driving prices upward. 

Next to the former Huaifang village record-breaking land plot, is villager replacement housing, which is facing many complaints

People’s Daily Net 2016-01-25 (Yu Yanming)

2015-11, two plots of land from the former Huaifang village site in Fengtai sold one after another,  for 17 billion yuan altogether. For plots of land managed by Beijing city, these two plots fetched the second and third highest prices in history, and broke the records for that year.

On the southern side of these land-plots, several tens of sixteen story residential buildings tower up to the sky. These serve as replacement housing for the close to ten thousand Huaifang villagers, whose village used to sit on those record-breaking plots of land. 

These residences formally opened on 2014-11, but up to one hundred village families have refused to move in, and are still living in rentals, even though the village committee has cut off the rent subsidy payments of 1500 yuan a month per person.

As for the majority of villagers who have already moved in, they have a ton of complaints. The area they were promised has shrunk, the quality of the building is not good. To quote a number of villagers: “ Now that the village committee has cut off our rental subsidy, it’s unrealistic for us as villagers to think we can keep paying that kind of rent, therefore we have no choice but to take our keys, even though the replacement housing is smaller than promised and not of good quality. Nowadays, having to fix up and repair one’s place is an everyday occurrence.”

A People’s Daily reporter went to check at the Beijing Planning Office, and at the Beijing Bureau of the National Land Office, and in both places found a lack of proper procedures and illegal violations in regard to the second phase project of Huaifang village replacement housing.  These violations involved the land, the planning, the construction work, and the transfer of units to residents.

Replacement housing for Huaifang village is in three phases: the first is already finished and functioning, the second phase is mostly finished, and the third phase is still under construction.

Huaifang villagers are complaining about the second and third phases. While the first phase was constructed with every step certified by the appropriate government office, the second phase is only partially certified, and the third phase not at all. When this reporter brought these concerns to the Fengtai branch government offices, staff members acknowledged there were problems. Villagers requested to see the certified plans for the development, but a staff member admitted these plans did not exist, and there is still not an answer to the request on the website.

Villagers: construction is shoddy, and our surface area has shrunk. Government: there are problems with the construction, but the surface area has not shrunk.

Many villagers who live in Dexinjiayuan in the second phase replacement housing say that the doorframes are not straight, the walls are hollow and lack support, the bathrooms are not waterproofed leading to paint peeling off, and strong winds blow away pieces of the outer wall.

In the 5th month of last year, villagers sent complaint letters setting out these problems in detail, to the various government offices. The reply they received stated that the Huaifang village second phase is part of the focal-point village replacement housing,  and the formal organization of all aspects of this project has not yet been completed. As for the reason of how funds were allocated for construction when the necessary permits and certificates had not been filed, this matter is under investigation. 

After investigation, the Fengtai Building Committee believes that the problem with the exterior walls is that the morter was not properly affixed to the heat-preserving boards using a reinforcing net, causing sections to fall off. Construction did not follow what was indicated in the plans. “This is clearly illegal. The evidence is irrefutable.” The Building Committee is in the process of imposing a fine on the construction company.

However, other problems brought up in the complant letter have not been investigated by the government, and no action has been taken.

“When the village was demolished, the village committee promised us a standard of 50 square meters per person in the replacement housing, The village committee showed us a sample unit constructed for Dexinjiayuan first phase, and we were very satisfied with it. However, when we moved into our residences in the second phase development,  we discovered that while the area set aside for public space [space beside the actual residence,  such as corridors, exterior, etc.] was especially large, the units  themselves were only 30 or 40 square meters per person. In addition, there were problems with the construction.”

Government offices at various levels responded to the villagers, that surface areas of residences correspond to both national and Beijing city standards, and the problem of shrinking space just doesn’t exist. In its wording, the government reply simply repeated the same figures for area as appeared in the villagers’ complaint letter.  It stated that in making space for elevators in the second phase development, the space for residents had to become smaller.

A People’s Daily reporter has discovered that the investment company behind the construction company which is building the second phase replacement housing in Dexinjiayuan is actually the Huaifang village collective, and the legal representative in charge of the investment company is the Huaifang Village Party Branch Secretary  Zhang Hong. The reporter has attempted to contact Zhang Hong to get his response to the villagers’ complaints, but has so far been unsuccessful.

(Editors Yu Yanming, Sun Hongli)

konjaku: a third People’s Daily article, by the same reporter, dated 2016-01-21

describes the construction of a “Temple of the Dragon King” on village land, and the villagers’ efforts to find out the details behind this construction from Zhang Hong and to have it stopped. Since there are more details about the background of this incident in a Boxun account, I have translated that instead, (People’s Daily is the newspaper of the communist party in China. Boxun is an overseas news service which reports on human rights abuses, and is blocked in mainland China.)

konjaku: next, two articles about the project developments at Huaifang. Both are promotional, so I have not translated everything.

Dexinjiayuan — a sign of the times for Beijing south


In 2011 the Huaifang village site was completely reborn as one major construction project appeared after another:  Dexinjiayuan residential district,  Qianmuhuai garden, International Soccer town,  and Ice and Snow Valley (a winter recreational park). Well known developers also settled in: a Wanda Plaza and a Danke Apartments, causing the Dexinjiayuan district to become a hot spot for potential renters.

Huaifang village is located on the Beijing north-south axis, extending from the National Stadium at the north 4th ring through Tiananmen, straight down to the south 4th ring. It is 5 kiometers from Beijing South train station, 10 kilometers from Tiananmen Square, and 35 kilometers from the new Daxing Airport (Beijing Daxing International Airport). Within its boundaries is Beijing’s largest subway station, Xingong, (the #4 line, The New Airport Line, #19 line, the L5 line, the L6 line), and the #8 line is nearby. Public transportation is very convenient, in the future it will be a transportstion hub.

Xingong station is the first station of the Line 4 extension (the Daxing line), and for that reason it is full of scrambling office workers. From Xingong station exit B, it is a six or seven minute walk to Dexinjiayuan. On the way one passes the recently completed Wanda Plaza. White collar workers who are tenants here, can relax and take the #4 subway line nonstop to Xuanwumen, Xidan, Jinrongjie, and Zhongguancun (major finance and high-tech centers), without worrying that they won’t be able to find a seat.  What a happy prospect!

Wanda plaza


As everyone knows, when a Wanda Plaza is built it becomes a “city center,” a place to which all who live in the surrounding area naturally gravitate, a district landmark. The Huaifang Wanda Plaza is the fifth to be built in Beijing, and brings to the southern part of the city a new level of  commerce, of shopping and recreation. Together with the Huiju shopping center, the huge IKEA (in Xihongmen),  these three form a complete set of commercial development, a great stride forward for south Beijing.

 Dexinjiayuan residential complex, situated on the way to Xigong station, will open at the end of this year (2016). Young white-collar workers, for whom time is precious, should not let slip this  golden opportunity to live here, and enjoy fast and easy commutes to work!

The history of Huaifang village is full of depth. In Yuan, Ming ,and Qing, Nanyuan was an imperial garden and hunting ground, divided into an “inland sea” and an “open sea.” Huaifang was part of the inland sea area,  and was used as a place to train troops. In the beginning of Qing it was open to the Manchu to build houses and live there. It was a Manchu custom to plant a locust tree whenever a baby was born. Before Huaifang was demolished there were more than a thousand locust trees in the village, some over 350 years old. When the village was demolished, the old trees were protected, and Dexinjiayuan was built around the trees, preserving them. There are ten trees certified as nationally important trees, which form one of the neighborhood’s special features.

Photo: Dexinjiayuan with one of the old locust trees, bottom left


Huaifang is within an area set aside as Beijing’s first detached green zone. Comprising 305.4 hectares, a number of large-scale parks form a continuous web of water and oxygen-producing forest land: Huaifang Park, Taoyuan Park, Qianmuhuaiyuan Park, Shidi Park, Nanyuan Park, and the Huaifang Fishing Park. All these spaces will supply residents of Dexinjiayuan with an abundance of places to exercise and keep fit.

Section on Danke Apartments, aimed at young white-collar workers. Advantages: only “one months deposit, one month’s rent” in advance (instead of the usual three month’s rent in advance), no extra charges,  free WIFI, free cleaning service.

More on Danke Apartments:

International Soccer Town

The boldness of Huaifang’s transformation goes beyond what most people would imagine. Taking over 366 acres of the detached green zone, and an area of old and dilapidated buildings, they made preparations to construct an “International Soccer Town.” 

Unlike other soccer facilities, the Huaifang soccer town will furnish high-quality soccer fields free for the people. It will allow those who have little or no chance to exercise to integrate regular exercise into their lives. Close to Dexinjiayuan, the white-collar tenants who like to play soccer will have a great opportunity.

Since Beijing’s successful bid to hold the 2022 Winter Olympics, there has been an explosion in the development of winter sports facilities, but at present inside the 5th ring there are only a few skating rinks, and no ski slope which meets international standards. Only the National Stadium (Bird’s Nest) has a short slope utilized in winter. There are not enough facilities to meet the increased demand. 

Now the International Soccer Town also comes with a Snow and Ice Valley, to help people of all walks of life master the techniques of skiiing.  One hopes the Snow and Ice Valley will be a training ground for the Winter Olympics, and fill the need in Southern Beijing for large scale exercise facilities. Dexinjiayuan residents can also enjoy this benefit. It is the only place in Beijing where you can ski from right outside your door.

A complete sports training center — boundary-crossing, eco-friendly, synergized — Huaifang becomes a new star of the local economy

2016 -06-14

The Internet, tourism, sports training, and “cultural and creative industry” are the trends of the age. Boundary-crossing, synergy, and eco-friendly are the watchwords of regional economic development. Industrial capital is pouring in to develop regional towns, to create  new urban patterns.

After the completion of Gubei Water Town [a tourist resort, see below] Huaifang in southern Beijing became the next new star of this trend. Public opinion has dubbed it “a new landmark for modern sports training in China.” 

“Giving free play to Huaifang’s natural wealth and resources, and unearthing a 1000 years of cultural history, we want to step-by-step adjust industry, courageously adopt new ideas,  and make this a place famous for its people, its village, and its products.”

Huaifang village sits astride both sides of the southern fourth ring, in Nanyuan town, on a direct axis south from Tian’anmen Square. During the Qing this was a vast area used as the imperial hunting grounds. Because there were an abundance of locust trees (huaishu), the village got its name. However because it was remote and out-of-the-way,  and poor in resources, economic  development has been slow.

Starting in 2013, the Wanda Group and the Zhongzhao Group, along with other large real estate developers,  have built one project after another there.  Huaifang Village Party Secrtary Zhang Hong first introduced the International Soccer Town project to the media, as an eco-friendly facility for the people to do physical exercise, a training center for soccer, and an ice and snow recreation area in winter, covering 366 acres.

Zhang Hong emphasized that although the “Soccer Town” and “Ice and Snow Valley” are getting the most media attention, the plans for Huaifang village go much further. It will in the future be a comprehensive modern physical education and sports training center, the largest such development in Beijing, complete with an ice skating rink, a natatorium, indoor soccer facilities, a small theater, a public art gallery, and stores and restaurants. From physical training, to culture and the arts, to businesses of various kinds, it will form a complete set of facilities that will celebrate “Chinese making and manufacturing, first in the world in bringing forth new ideas.”

note: Gubei Water Town is a replica of a historic water town built next to the Simatai section of the Great Wall, a two hour bus ride from Beijing.

konjaku: the following material is a partial translation of a series of articles on Zhang Hong, which appear in Boxun.

photo: Zhang Hong


Since Zhang Hong became the Party Branch Secretary of Huaifang, he has channeled huge profits into the Zhang family, relying on ties of blood and consanguinity. Colluding with state-run businesses, using legal and illegal means, covering for each other, the family has seized property by trickery, embezzled profits from the people, extorted their flesh and blood.  Over several years, their greed has yielded them 100 million yuan. Now I will draw back the curtain and, bit by bit, expose their corruption.

The Huaifang village houses were demolished by the Shengshi yuanda corporation, owned and operated by the Zhang family. In the process, they took over all the village property, like passing something from the left hand to the right hand.  But if after that they let us live in real homes, that would at least be like eating up our meat while leaving us some broth. Instead,  our residences are smaller than promised, and the workmanship is shoddy and made with poor materials. 

Because members of the Zhang family occupy most official positions, they block the appeals of the villagers from reaching the intended authorities. Step by step the collective village property is transferred to their family corporation, then into the hands of the individual members. Zhang Hong has appointed his cousin as village head, his wife’s uncle as village secretary, his mother’s adopted son as the assistant board chair. All the power is in the hands of one family,  and the route to appeal to a higher authority is blocked.

Zhang Hong’s younger female cousin is the finance affairs manager, his  wife’s younger brother is the finance board president, his two sisters manage the books. Through this control of finances, the family can manipulate accounts and transfer wealth.

The family corporation has a building project in Shandong province, as well as the contract to build the villagers’ replacement housing. The Shandong project is large, and the investment company for this project, headed by Zhang Hong’s younger cousin, keeps investing more in it. As for the replacement housing, the two sisters (who manage the books) pay out to their husbands to be in charge of construction, everything is neat and tidy.

Zhang Hong’s Longwangmiao (Temple of the Dragon King)

The ruling class uses superstitions that have been passed down from ancient and feudal times to deceive the lower classes. Utilizing people’s primitive fears and their desire to overcome the  uncertainties of their fate, they create an atmosphere of  mystery and ignorance, in which fear overcomes innate strength, evil defeats justice, and the good is ruthlessly exterminated.

Originally, agricultural villages were a breeding ground for feudal superstitions, but the party cadres in each village responsible for thought-training, purged the villages of these residual poisons. However in the present, it is the Party Branch Secretary Zhang Hong who is trying to bring back one of the most pernicious feudal superstitions into the village.

Zhang Hong has spent vast sums to worship Huang Daxian,  and makes every decision concerning our village and his own daily life based on the god. He vainly hopes to use superstition to attain his illicit goals, even if damages the interests of the common people, and corrupts the Party’s style of work and its methods.

The final straw is that Zhang Hong believes the deity asked him to build a Temple of the Dragon King. Only when this is completed will his career continue to advance from village to town. Therefore he took over land which was not yet approved for the project, and spent vast sums to build the temple, buying the best wood and rolled steel, far exceeding what he allowed to be spent on replacement housing for the villagers. 

Photo: the priest at the temple


Fortunately, due to efforts of the villagers over half a year to report this to authorities, Zhang Hong has been ordered to tear down the Temple of the Dragon King by 2015-10-30. Through the villagers’ concentrated efforts, this temple of superstition will crumble back into the earth, ceasing to exist.


Why does someone like Zhang Hong manage to stay in power? Is it because the villagers tacitly consent, and do not investigate? Is it because, in seeking personal profit, he tries to minimize the harmful effect he may have on villagers? Not at all! Using the villagers’ own funds, he hires members of the criminal underworld to root out dissidents and oppress the people. As far as I know, he has resorted to this method more than a few times. Each time, he becomes more foolhardy and brazen.

Huaifang villager Li Zhi, well-known as a person of good conscience,  has been unceasing in his efforts to inform the higher authorities of Zhang Hong’s degree of corruption, and his collusion with state-run companies to cut corners in constructing the replacement housing, without doing any quality inspections. He has also reported on how Zhang Hong believes in religious superstitions more than the communist party, and how he has spent large sums of money to build the Temple of the Dragon King. For this, he has been threatened and intimidated on numerous occasions by men whose identity is unknown.

At 9 AM on 2015-10-27, while Li Zhi  was on his way to the government office to formally question Zhang Hong about a number of village financial matters, accompanied by a group of villagers which had spontaneously joined him,  he was accosted and beaten by a group of men of unknown identity. These men suddenly leapt out from behind some trees, forcefully pulled Li Zhi off of his electric bike, and hit him on the face with lethal weapons. When the other villagers got over their fear and gathered together to approach, the men, in one concerted action, ran to several waiting cars  with no license plates, and sped away. All this happened in full public view. 

Photo: village protest against Zhang Hong


Next to the Huaifang village record-breaking land plots, one illegal building is being torn down, the Longwangmao (Temple of the Dragon King)

The two Huaifang village land plots auctioned off for a record-breaking 17 billion yuan, are, as the villager Mr Chen put it, like “a thumb measure of land, a thumb measure of gold.”

To the east of these land parcels, these “tiny parcels of gold, ” there was a plan to build a Temple of the Dragon King. But the concerted effort of the villagers in notifying the authorities, resulted in the North Beijing Fengtai Branch Land Department designating the Temple as an illegal construction, and ordering it demolished.

Villagers said Zhang Hong was the one behind the construction of the temple.  When villagers requested that he explain to the village committee why he wanted to build the temple,  he stated, “this is to protect village cultural relics and restore the ruins by building a new temple.”

When villagers expressed doubt, he produced a document from the “Beijing City Cultural Relics Research Institute,” entitled “Huaifang Village Temple of the Dragon King Ruins Protection Project,” which stated that as of 2015-05 the Research Institute had started an archeological survey of the ruins, which would encompass 10,000 square meters.

However, when villagers went to visit the Beijing City Cultural Relics Research Institute, a staff member said without doubt that there was no such survey in progress, and that the Institute had not issued the document, which also had a forged seal. A People’s Daily reporter visited the Institue and confirmed these facts.

The villagers then reported to the Land Department that this temple was being built on village collective land, without going through the approval process. The Department did its own investigation, and ordered the existing construction to be demolished.

When the reporter went to the site a few days later, the structure had been disassembled and there were just piles of construction materials remaining on the ground.

Summary of longer section: The writer goes on in detail about several construction and development companies incorporated by the Huaifang village collective, but which are controlled and operated by Zhang Hong.  Through these companies the Temple of the Dragon King was being built, and a number of other construction projects were in the works. The largest of the companies controlled by Zhang Hong is one of sixteen shareholders in the much larger development company that purchased one of the record-breaking plots of land in Huaifang village. With 1.56 percent of shares, once the sale went through, the Zhang Hong-controlled company received a compensatory bonus of 4.154 billion yuan.

“A real estate expert told this reporter that usually enterprises run by village collectives do not have the resources or clout to get into land development. They may own a few shares in the bigger development company which purchases the village land and develops it, but usually they are limited to assisting in the demolition of the village, and that is all. However, the Zhang Hong-controlled company is actually involved in development projects outside of Huaifang village.

The People’s Daily Reporter has repeatedly tried to contact Zhang Hong to ask about the corporation which is building the Temple of the Dragon King, however there has been no response.”

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