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Shantytown renovation in central Beijing: Dongcheng

konjaku: the urban-rural reunification project of transforming the outlying fifty villages around Beijing began in 2008 in the spirit of “tackling the hardest problems first.” Perhaps that is why the city government waited several years before starting to renovate the shantytown districts within the city proper. Residents of these districts are not like villagers who remember an intact community in which families have lived for many generations, and who were making an income renting rooms in their household complexes. (Yet, even in West Zhongshili, this pattern is established –see below.) Although each site is different, in the city there is more likely to be abundant funds available through developers to compensate those who have to move, as the center city is a highly desirable area to redevelop. The government can expect less resistance and a smoother process overall. However, there are some different, and difficult, issues: finding or building replacement housing for residents of shantytowns who will not be able to move back to the same location, and dealing sensitively with sites close to the Temple of Heaven or with historic hutong neighborhoods.
In this post and the next, I will concentrate on Dongcheng and Xicheng, the two districts at the very center of Beijing, to look at similarities and differences with the 50 villages project.

Beijing 2016 Shantytown renovation gets approval–will involve at least 35,000 households

The bulk of the renovation projects will be in central Beijing: 4500 households in Dongcheng, 5000 in Xicheng, 6000 in Chaoyang, 6000 in Haidian, 4500 in Fengtai, 4000 in Shijingshan. The suburbs are less represented in the plan. 5000 households are to be transformed in Huairou, but the other districts will have to wait.

As of 2016-01, the number of Beijing city residents in the plan who have already signed contracts to move out of their shantytowns is 2893, or 8.27% of the total (35,000). The amount of money to be invested is 100 billion yuan ($15 billion–14,857,737,166). In Dongcheng 1458 residents have signed contracts –the most in all districts up to now.

The common peoples’ enthusiasm for these projects is very high. In the spare and economical buildings near the Temple of Heaven, the rate of residents who have signed contracts is 85%, and the same for West Zhongshili [konjaku:see below for details on these projects].


Beijing published its plan to demolish and relocate certain places at the beginning of the year –the latest developments — is your home a worry?

(The point of view expressed in this article is the author’s, and does not represent the view of Sohu net.)

At the beginning of the year Beijing published “ 2016 work schedule of the transformation of shantytown areas and fixing environmental problem areas.” We’ll take a quick look at the progress of demolition projects in six Beijing districts.

Dongsheng District:

1. Spare and economical buildings near the Temple of Heaven
Cluster of spare and economical buildings to the west and south of the Temple of Heaven. This comprises 57 economical buildings, 2589 registered permanent residences, 8134 people, 2414 real estate properties. These spare and economical buildings were built in the 1960s and 1970s. They have not been repaired for many years, have aged beyond their usefulness, and are full of safety issues (hidden dangers ). Residents of these buildings can opt to buy designated residences in the east fourth ring, but because these housing resources are limited, it will be first come, first served, until they are all gone.
Temple of Heaven 天坛
Spare and economic buildings 简易楼


2. Beijing Dongcheng district West Zhongshili shantytown area
Zhongshili shantytown district will be demolished and transformed into Binhe (riverside) Park

Prospects are finally looking up for the shantytown dwelling residents of Wesrt Zhongshili. West Zhongshili is squeezed between the train tracks and the Tonghui river. The area will be cleared and made into a riverside park, while the residents’ designated housing will be in the Qingheli nanshanyuan multi-story complex in Chaoyang district Dougezhuang village.

West Zhongshili shantytown area 西忠实里棚户区
Binhe park 滨河公园
Tonghui river 通惠河
Qingheli nanshanyuan 青荷里南山园
Dougezhuang 豆各庄

This year (2016) in Beijing city, 118 shantytowns will be renovated, involving 57 thousand households


This reporter spent 24 hours in Dongcheng district Zhongshili shantytown. eating with residents and living under the same roof

Reporter Geng Nuo, photos Sun Yue

Photos: Xiao Jin and Xiao Liao live at Number 2 in west Zhongshili. The kitchen is two square meters, and a large tree trunk takes up a considerable amount of the space. Xiao Liao is in the process of cooking a meal.


In West Zhongshili, this type of building, a safety hazard, with an insecure story added over the original building, is seen everywhere. These spaces are rented cheaply to migrant workers.


These brick houses built right against the railway embankment have been there for decades. When a train goes by, these old buidings shake, in danger of falling down.


“I do not know how many more nights I will need to sleep here,” Lightly tucking her five year old under the quilt, 35 year old Xiao Liao (Young Liao) heaved a sigh, raising her eyes to the cracked and peeling ceiling, seemingly without the strength to continue to pit herself against the darkness and oppressive dampness of this house. The next morning she had to get up at 6, to take her child to attend a government run kindergarden 10 kilometers away.

From the narrow gable window at the top of her house, one can glimpse the area around Jianguomen ablaze with lights. But in this .49 square kilometer shanty town with the Tonghui River to the south and the railroad track to the north, it is absolutely pitch black. Inside the alley there are no lights, on the roadside there are no lights, the whole area seems swallowed up in darkness.

This year the city plans to renovate 118 shantytown areas. to improve the housing conditions of 57000 households. The residents of this shantytown fervently look forward to the renovation.

A large tree trunk occupies part of one wall of Xiao Liao’s 2 meter square kitchen. She has hammered nails into the wood, from which she hangs cutting boards and other kitchen implements. On rainy days, although Xiao Liao sprinkles quite a lot of salt, slugs crawl up the wood. Because of the tree’s tenacious growth, every year the kitchen roof and the floor must be repaired.

“This place is called ‘the first stop for those coming to the capital,’ but the reality of it is difficult to put into words.” A young fellow from the neighborhood committee took this reporter to the most impoverished sections.

To the south are the tracks coming out of Beijing Station, to the north is the south bank of the Tonghui River, to the west is the bridge leading to the east second ring along Tonghui Rover North Road, to the east is where Dongcheng meets Chaoyang district. On the map, west Zhongshili is called the Huangjin (gold) area, but this is misleading, Those who drive along the Tonghui Rover North Road are hardly likely to notice the ashen, dilapidated buildings which are scattered in the greenbelt between traffic arteries.

Screen Shot 2017-08-05 at 12.15.06 PM


Xiao Liao does not go out to work, but stays home to look after her family. All during the day and while awake, she plays music to drown out the sound of passing cars, just some 10 meters away. At 3:15 in the afternoon, she pushes out her bicycle to get ready to go pick up her child at the kindergarden 10 kilometers away. The next three hours are busy for her. But at the same time, she gets respite from the incessant noise: the sound of trains passing, and the long, shrill squeal of car brakes.

At 6 in the morning they are awakened by the din next door. Several houses have been rented by a goods distribution company, and employees are going in and out. Xiao Liao gets up and begins cleaning the rooms, trying to maintain the semblance of being in a normal house.

“I have been tidying up these several years, but the more I clean the more disordered things become,” Xiao Liao said, sweeping the corners while swatting a mosquito.

She has been living here with Xiao Jin (Young Jin) since 2011. That same year Jin’s uncle moved to Tongzhou to be near the kindergarden his grandson was going to, managing to get out of the shantytown. However, Jin’s family has lived here six generations, they are the “original inhabitants” of the village. Next door is another Jin uncle, 96 years old, who set aside the bowl of congee from his daughter-in-law to relate the history of the neighborhood.

When this Mr Jin was born, this area was farmland, under the Nanmofang production brigade. There were just six households here. People from outside started to arrive to be employed as construction workers when work started on the Beijing Railroad Station and the train lines along the river (1959). The companies involved in the construction built up temporary shacks to house the workers, and warehouses. The buildings which were meant to be temporary, gradually changed into dormitories. After that, as migrants arrived they settled in the vicinity of the railway. A complicated array of buildings grew up: state-owned houses, houses managed by work units, private houses, peasants’ homesteads with gardens, houses built by work units, houses self-built by residents. It is a diverse cross-section of all the types of real estate found in Beijing, legal and illegal –every type except for standard, market priced housing.

In all the years she has lived here Xiao has never gone to the “west side.” The Jin family have exhorted her that over there it is chaotic, that she should not rashly venture there.

“You are thinking of going there? I want to come along with you” she said to this reporter. It seemed as though she was curious about that area.

The further you go west, the more dilapidated it gets. Although this reporter had already gone to interview in some very well-known Beijing shantytowns, he had the same sense of shock as before when he saw brick houses that had been there for at least several decades, inside the railway bed, leaning on the embankment. These houses use the top of the slope as the edge of their roof. They used boards for support, and steel plates to add a second story. To plug the chinks in the pitched roof, the owner used irregular sizes and twisted pieces of brick, placed under the rafters. The rafters had changed color, showing they were already rotten to the core.

People who have come to Beijing to be manual laborers live in this particular area. A Ms Zhang from Henan province has been here for over a year. Her rent is 450 yuan a month, which allows here to have a room in a shack to call her own inside the east 2nd Ring.

“Don’t look, don’t look, everything’s a mess, ” Turning a corner on the second floor, unexpectedly three rooms and a kitchen appear. This reporter met Ms Zhang, who had received a long and narrow stool from a good hearted person. As she was dragging it along the road, the stool became stuck, and this reporter helped her pull it out and carry it in. However on the second floor Ms Zhang became embarrassed. In her small room there was a bed and a table, but no room for a second person to go in and even have a place to stand.

As this reporter was leaving Ms Zhang’s, at that moment a train went by. The were faint tremors in the ground, which must be increasing the danger that these old houses will eventually fall down. The railroad line separates the newer Zhongsili, in which houses have sprouted up like spring bamboo shoots in the last ten years, from West Zhongsili, which is older and more dilapidated.

Donghuashi residential district Deputy Director Yan Tao remembers clearly that when he started in his position in 2000, there were only a few buildings over two stories in this area. 95 percent of the land was occupied by shantytowns, just like Zhongshili is today. Starting in 2001, they began relocating people, and now 95 percent of the area is made up of modern, tall buildings.

The remaining 5 percent is West Zhongshili, and this area has almost entirely become an “ungoverned zone.” Cable tv service stopped five years ago. Houses do not have meters, but they still sponge electricity off of the city. All one story houses with courtyards have water faucets, but the water pressure is insufficient. There are newly built public bathrooms, but because there is no water pressure the toilets are pit latrines.

“Don’t go there, not in a million years! If you go in the public bathroom, when you come out you have a strong urge to wash yourself all over.” Xiao Liao pulled this reporter’s arm in the other direction.

According to a comprehensive survey, the following conditions are universal for the area: “building in danger of collapse, ” “ buildings that have not been repaired for years,” “disorderly buildings slapped together by occupants.”

In 2014, good news arrived. West Zhongsili would be one of the eleven shantytowns areas that would be completely transformed. West Zhongsili involves 445 households, which will move to new designated housing, and the emptied land will be turned into a green zone.

At the end of last year, an investigation commenced to determine the real situation of the area. More than one hundred people spent over a month here, finally sorting the intricate and complicated real estate arrangements and the distribution of the population. At present, except for two families they have lost contact with, data on the rest of the families in the area has been completely assembled.

“If matters continue at this pace, this year we will be able to post the announcement, and if we work hard, by the end of the year the first batch of families will have moved into new homes.” This was said by a person at the project command center. The necessary project funds, liaison with housing resources, and work assignments have all been fixed in advance.

This reporter has found out that the designated housing for West Zhongsili residents is government constructed public housing in Dougezhuang (Chaoyang district). The relevant government department has been considering the school issue at the new location. They have settled the residents’ permanent residence status before they relocate, and will be able to give them clear direction on how to enter their children in school.

“Although it is not yet fixed, perhaps we can begin to look forward to moving to new homes.” Xiao Liao looked happy.

Photos of the designated housing for W. Zhongshili, Qingheli Nanshanyuan:





West Zhongshili non-conforming buildings demolished, “using skylight to go in and out”



A structure partitioned into eight adjoining shacks, each twelve meters long, 2.5 meters wide, in which eight families live, migrant workers who have come to Beijing for construction jobs. They pay 300 yuan a month to live here, and do all their living in a space five meters square. All their refuse is scattered outside, creating a strong odor. There are no doors and windows –the only entrance is through the roof, the “skylight.”

Legal Daily reporter Hong Xue said, “I have seen many non-conforming buildings, but never before ones without doors, in which the only way to enter is from above.” Yesterday a city management team discovered this strange building in the process of demolishing structures in the same area. Wondering how the tenants got in and out, a member of the team discovered the “skylight,” a torn canvas flap on the roof, with a ladder set up just below the opening. The other wall was the embankment of the train tracks. Inside, a corridor one meter wide led to the only egress from the structure, the skylight.

Originally the train tracks were sealed off with wire mesh, but they had made an opening in the wire and filled in the space along the embankment with rocks, up to the level of the skylight. If there had ever been a fire, it would have been hard to get out.

The inhabitants have already moved out, and the city management law-enforcement team demolished the structure.


3. Baohuali, Xiheyan
Summary: “stranded houses” in Baohuali and houses in danger of collapse in Xiheiyan are being demolished to make way for a large scale residential complex. Residents will be able to acquire units in the new complex that correspond to the area of their demolished houses, and can purchase extra space for 5000 yuan per square meter. Or they can choose to move to other housing outside of the area.

Xiheyan 西河沿


(Above, 3 photos of Baohuali)

4.Qianmen dongqu
Forty-six hutong (traditional neighborhood alleys) will be renovated

The development angle of Qianmen is “old hutongs, new life, ” a new vitality for those remaining buildings and neighborhoods which we look at with nostalgia and which are a foundation of traditional culture. Taking West Damochang street as a starting point, Beijing is accelerating the pace to renovate the hutongs, clean up the environment, and bring in new commercial opportunities into the area. The comparatively well preserved Linfen Association Hall will be renovated and turned into the Beijing Association Hall Museum. Along with extending the Sanlihe green zone to the southeast, 46 hutongs will be renovated and upgraded with new infrastructure.

Qianmen dongqu 前门东区
West Damochang street 西打磨厂街
(see for photos of this classic street)
Linfen Association Hall 临汾会馆
Beijing Association Hall Museum 北京会馆文化陈列馆
Sanlihe green zone三里河绿化

5 photos of Qianmen dongqu, the last a model of what renovation might look like






4 photos of West Damochang Street:





The Linfen Association Hall after renovation


5. Dongcheng district Dongsi subdistrict and Nanluoguxiang hutongs will be renovated within this year.

Dongcheng district is taking a comprehensive approach to fixing and renovating its historical and cultural neighborhoods, with a “historical essence” zone encompassing Dongsi Third to Eight Alleys, and four alleys of Nanluoguxiang.

Yesterday, the Dongcheng district party secretary Yang Liuyin revealed that four hutong east of the Yuhe river (Tonghui canal) will be completely renovated over the next four years. They are Yuer hutong, Maoer hutong, Suoyi hutong, and Fuxiang hutong. This renovation will involve some 1000 households. It will improve housing conditions and relieve population congestion. Previously Yang Liuyin reported that at present the population of Dongcheng district is 1 million, with 280,000 migrants. On average, that is 20,000 people per square kilometer, but in some places there are 40,000 per square kilometer. Therefore, the Dongcheng plan, from 2011 to 2030, is to move out 10,000 people each year, with the eventual goal of having 200,000 people transferred out of the District.

Dongcheng belongs to an adminsitrative effort that this year will relocate or destroy buildings within the cultural preservation area which are not in the old capital style. [details of areas affected omitted]. It will continue the project of “Qianmen new [style] closed courtyards.”

Dongsi 东四
Nanluoguxiang (Southern Drum and Gong Lane) 南锣鼓巷
Yuer hutong, 雨儿胡同
Maoer 帽儿胡同
Fuxiang 福祥胡同

Nanluoguxiang (Southern Drum and Gong Lane) and four other allies (hutong) renovation project has been completed

By next year, Dongcheng District will have finished its projects to renovate shantytown areas. This includes the spare and economical buildings near the Temple of Heaven, Nanzhongzhou Road, etc. Construction of 6837 residences for replacement housing in Dougezhuang in Chaoyang [see “W. Zhongshili, Qingheli Nanshanyuan” photos above] and the “Liangzhanyijie” (Two subway stations one town)  development  in Tongzhou has started, 3728 units have been completed. Next year renovation will also begin on a number of culture sites, including Yonghe Temple and the Guozijian (Imperial Academy).

konjaku: some Dongsi and Nanluoguxiang hutongs have already been renovated and have become active tourist destinations. An example is Dazhalan (Dashilanr) street.
Dashilanr commercial street 大栅栏

The “Two subway stations one town” project in Tongzhou is quite large. It looks like quite a different living environment from the shantytown in central Beijing.

The Two stations one town development in Tonzhou is starting! The Beijing Zhuzong Group has already bought up 58 land parcels and consolidated them into one, and prepared a capital investment of 55 billion yuan (8 billion dollars) to create a high-end commercial town. This will be a “micro- center” of the Beijing-Tianjan cooperative development zone.

“Two stations one town” refers to a new commercial area built along the last two stations on the Yizhuang subway line, Yizhunaghuoche and Ciqi stations. [Ciqi station opened 12- 2010, Yizhunaghuoche station, last on the line, is not open yet.]

The best point of this development is the balance of commercial and residential sites. We hard-working long-distance commuters into the city will now be able to work and live at the same place. What a pleasant turn of events! Instead of having to jostle each other in the morning rush-hour crowd to get ahead, we can live a more human life. We can relax, knowing that education and medical facilities will all be close by when we need them. Won’t this be what living in the city center should be?

This year 2017, construction will start on roads and other infrastructure.

Two stations one town 两站一街
Yizhuang line 亦庄线
Yizhuang huoche station亦庄火车站
Ciqu station 次渠站



6. Wangtan
Wangtan is the largest shantytown area in Beijing. At long last the opportunity has come for the cocoon to be smashed and the butterfly to emerge. 20,000 long-time neighbors will walk from a shantytown into a transformed green thoroughfare. Dongcheng inked a contract with a large construction company. The Wangtan area residents and businesses have packed up everything and moved out, leaving the whole site to the construction firm. The work has already started, the timetable is being followed, and this year the job is due to be completed. “At long last the dawn is coming. We have waited through many setbacks, 24 years, for this.”

Contract signing starts in Wangtan shack clearance project

2017-04-11 Evening Legal Daily

At 8 o clock in the morning, contract signing officially began.

The project to renovate Wangtan, the largest shantytown in the center of Beijing, occupying 46 hectares, officially began with contract signing at 8 o clock in the morning. Those who sign s contract within the stipulated time period, will receive an award of 420,000 yuan. ($62,000)


Once the contract signing process got underway, this reporter discovered it only took ten minutes. 62 year old Chen Wanping was the second one to complete the process. She told this reporter that her son-in-law had been in line for two days to get the Number 2, so that they could be one of the earliest to select their new residence. They were able to get a two room suite of 68 to 78 square meters.

One of the directors of the project, Chang Zhangbo said, there are 4555 residents ready to sign contracts, 80% of the total. He calculates they will be able to get 600 contracts signed today, and all of them within one week. There is a period of 100 days to sign contracts. If at that time (by the deadline) the rate of signing has reached 75%, the process of requisitioning properties and paying the compensation specified in the agreement will go into effect. 5700 households will move into new homes.

konjaku: another website shows that the goal of 75% was reached on 04-18, seven days later.

In addition to the 420,000 yuan, signers will receive a number of smaller awards or subsidies.Once families move out, they will receive a subsidy for rent and expenses of 150 yuan per square meter of their old house, if this amounts to less than 4000 yuan, they will get 4000 yuan.

Before seleting a new residence, families will get a pamphlet details all of the options. They can choose to live in the new residences being built on the Wangtan site, or they can choose to move out to one of two residential complexes in Daxing district. There are seven possible combinations of compensation money, subsidies, and choice of residence for them to select from.

Wangtan 望坛

View of Wangtan


Wangtan street


The Wangtan renovation project model


Wangtan residents examining the noticeboard detailing compensation amounts


Wangtan’s “Retirement”

Wangtan means to “gaze at the Temple of Heaven.” (Wang 望 to gaze at from a distance, tan 坛 from Tiantan 天坛, Temple of Heaven). Most of the buildings in this area were constructed in the 1950s. After all this time, the area is rife with hidden dangers. 2017 -05-10 was the last day to receive a financial award for agreeing to sign a contract for the renovation project. At 4 PM, the number of contracts signed was 5095, or 90%.

In the near future, the residences in the area will be demolished. The next step will be to gradually get rid of the businesses which are operating illegally, without a license.

“Welcome!” An old resident, Zhang Hongxiang, waving, greeted this photographer. Inside their house, the whole family arranged themselves to photographed, chattering the whole time. This was the house in which they had lived for sixty years. “Now out in the courtyard!” This time, some neighbors joined in the picture (see photo).


Early summer, a light breeze. A man passing under a locust tree shook a branch, and blossoms fell on the roof of his old house. “When I first came here I was eight years old, in 1952, and the trunk of this tree was the diameter of a ricebowl. ”Thus courtyard was shared by six families, and we were given six saplings to plant.”

All the neighbors know the food market on Taoyang Road, the oldest state-run store in Wangtan. In the afternoon they gather outside the store, and set up a chessboard to play chess. A Mr Li, waiting his turn to play, pointed a finger down the road and said, “You can’t imagine how busy it once was here. Many Liberation-brand trucks drove west along this road. There were lots of young children here then, who liked watching them go by.” Mr Li sighed. ”The years have gone by quickly.”


photo above Liberation-brand truck, now in a museum

Ms Wang, who is now the manager of the food market, recollected that when she was 20 years old, her starting salary was 17.08 yuan a month. Since it was the only shop in the area, there were seventeen shop assistants, and they could barely keep up. Because of changes to the railway line the road going north was closed off, but this road going west is just as it was before.


inside the food market in Wangtan

Now half of the store interior is closed off. When the area is redone, Ms Wang plans to retire and live with her grandson.

After sixty years here, Ms Wang sits under the locust tree, unwilling to brush the falling tree blossoms out of her hair. “The summers were the best. To eat a bowl of noodles, right here, with one whole cucumber in the bowl, squatting on the ground. This kind of thing doesn’t happen any more.”

“The truth is, we won’t fondly remember our old houses, what we will cherish in our memories is our old neighborhood, the living here together day to day.” Zhang Hongxiang expressed the sentiments of all the old residents.


“It didn’t used to be like this. Two Liberation-brand trucks used to able to pass each other on the road. ”said Ms Liu of Liulijingnan Road. “If you look at what it is now, not even small vans can come in.”
In the Wangtan of today, there are many small streets that can’t handle automobile traffic, even pedicabs cannot go in and out. On nights and weekends, cars squeeze by without an inch to spare. Many are people visiting the Temple of Heaven, who park here and later go back home. [Parked cars block the lanes, forming a hidden danger.]

Others recall that what Ms Liu is talking about began in the 1960s. As new generations increased the number of family members living in a house, they added on to their houses, swelling them to the point of being over-stuffed.

Mr Li said he remembers vividly one night when there was a fire. That night he was resting inside his home when suddenly outside he heard a person yelling, “Fire!” Losing no time, he ran outside, and found the lane filled with rollong black smoke. Residents contacted the police, but when the fire engine hurried there, on the street which was not very wide to begin with, a stiff barrier blocked up the lane, made up of piles of odds-and-ends. Besides, Mr Li’s car was parked there, and three other cars.
After this, Mr Li realized that this old city district, which he knows so intimately, should be “retired.”

To accelerate the process of renovating Wangtan, Beijing’s largest shantytown, the Dongcheng district government, between 2016-12-24 and 2017-01-16, has taken 20,000 Wangtan residents in batches to tour one of the designated replacement housing complexes, Shouchangmeilanwan.


Shouchangmeilanwan is in the south Fifth Ring in Daxing. The Shouchang Group [Beijing Capital Group, a large state-owned enterprise] has done its utmost to produce high quality replacement housing, offering 3214 residential units to Wangtan residents. The complex will be finished in stages, starting 2018-12, going up to 2019-06. It has been reported that the Beijing Capital group has a plan to build more housing on 500,000 square meters of land adjacent to the west side of Shouchangmeilan. They anticipate being able to offer Dongcheng another 5000 residential units. Construction is slated to start sometime in 2017.

photos: residents arriving for the tourU398P4T8D8104633F107DT20161226094105.jpg

breaking ground ceremony


what Shouchangmeilanwan will look like


7. Jingshan

Adopting the “sponge city concept” (refashion urban areas to be able to hold, clean and drain water in an ecological way, rather than be damaged by floods) Dongcheng is pushing forward to rebuild low-lying households with courtyards. Starting in the Jingshan sub-district, it has a pilot project to raise up these buildings and redo the sewer lines, and to repave the courtyards with anti-skid, permeable bricks [permeable because these allow stormwater to seep through]. By the end of 2015, Jingshan had already finished renovating 64 low-lying homes. This year, the goal is to redo 80 to 100 homes.

Jingshan 景山地区

Houses in low-lying areas renovated, freeing residents from fast-moving rainwater

In the summer torrential rains, in Jingshan 170 homes built in low-lying areas or on depressions are vulnerable to rain-water flow, “if it’s a small rain it just comes in the house, if it’s a hard rain it reaches the roof.” This phenomenon produces anxiety: “the common peoples’ worry accumulates as the water accumulates.” Now 84 houses have undergone a trial to end this problem, with great success.

photo: 2015 low lying area renovated so that the water drains away: conventional pavement changed to permeable pavement



The difficulties faced were quite complex. If houses had drainpipes they were old and not functioning well. .Some houses did not have drainpipes at all, but still used the method from Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911), a seepage pit to hold excess water. This method does not align well in the modern city. Besides the houses, some municipal systems were in disrepair. Street surfaces were old, and the gaps between streets and houses where one or the other was sinking had grown larger, as much as 1.5 meters. The houses to fix were many, and the repair fund was not large. Confronting these problems, the thought was to be imaginative, and explore new methods and solutions that would get the most out of the limited capital available. An individualized plan was made for each house that would unfold in stages. Next the project workers explained the project fully to the residents, for without the support and participation of the residents, the project would fail.

photo Beijing city Deputy Mayor Li Jixiang investigating the flood conditions with members of his staff and the district committee secretary



photo: before and after


魏家社区南吉祥13号改造前              魏家社区南吉祥13号改造后

8.Chongwai #6
Dongcheng district is implementing demolition of the “stagnant areas” of Chongwai #6. For replacement housing the residents can choose to go to Dafangju in Tongzhou, outside the fifth ring. This is difficult to accept for those older residents who have lived for decades inside the second ring. When this plan was announced in 2006, a number of older residents did not agree to it. In 2007 it was proposed that residents would receive not one but two residences in the new residential complex, and a compensation award of 300,000 yuan. This overcame the resistance and most were prepared to move out, but then there was no further communication on the project.

photo: Chongwai#6 narrow alleyway, just enough for one person to go through


This project involves 7965 registered households, houses and buildings with a total area of 156, 000 square meters. Relocation of residents started in 2007. Up to now, 1000 housholds have been moved, while more than 6000 remain.

If all had gone smoothly, this shantytown district would have disappeared in 2008. But because Chongwai#6 borders on the Temple of Heaven, it involves cultural protection issues, and the approval process is longer than usual. Since the Temple of Heaven is a historical and cultural heritage site, it is not under the jurisdiction of Beijing city. Being a UNESCO World Heritage Site also added to the delay.

Now (2016) the residents are full of resentment at the real estate company (New World Real Estate) in charge of the project. “They buried us alive. They said they would demolish, but did not go ahead with demolition, and we lost the chance to buy the new residences. All we can do is wait. Who knows when we will escape from this predicament.”

photo: old house that has not been repaired for many years

Walking through the alleys of Chongwai #6, this reporter noticed that every ten meters there is an electrical box, with a placard on which is written the name of the resident served, and a meter. Resident Miao said, last year in this neighborhood the plan, “From coal to electricity” was completed. Before that, residents of this shantytown neighborhood relied on honeycomb coal briquettes to warm themsselves, polluting the environment, creating a hidden danger to lives and safety. “Since electrification, it has been much cleaner and tidier, and living conditions are much improved” Mr Miao heaved a satisfied sigh.

coal briquettes for heating


But another resident. Mr Xiaoli, had a different perspective. He had originally hoped that use of coal would end under Beijing city’s Twelfth Five Year Plan, and that Chongwai#6 would be demolished by the end of 2015. But now that the “coal to electricity” project has been done, Mr Xiaoli worries that they will be forgotten, and that the government has given up doing more in this area. “New World Reality is not pushing forward and doing anything. There is more and more delay, and there is no one to ask what is going on.” Mr Xiaoli has no idea where to lodge an appeal. The only thing he can do is post messages to the district head at the Dongcheng district website, which he does unceasingly.

The temporary district head in 2014, Zhang Jiaming, at that time issued a statement, stating that the government had been consulting with New World Reality for the last two years, to assist with demolition and to find new housing for residents in Tongzhou. As Zhang stated, the government indeed found some replacement housing. In 2007, out of 7965 households, 1552 were relocated, leaving 6413. Another 100 houses were demolished to make way for the electricity substation on Xitang street.

Although some 2000 households had moved, for the next nine years the majority of households were stalled in place, unable to leave. To renovate dilapidated houses would cost money,as much as 60,000 to 80,000 yuan per house. But if residents ended up moving sooner, that money would be wasted.

The deputy project manager at New World Reality said there are several problems: compensation amounts are not clearly determined in the plan, and there is a lack of replacement housing available. Although they are trying to take appropriate action, finding the replacement housing is difficult.

Now, in 2016, the district head Li Xianzhong has said that there must be a renewed effort to complete the areas around the Temple of Heaven. The residents of Chongwai #6 are greeting the news with happiness, but they are waiting to see an exact timetable for demolition.
Chongwai #6  崇外6号

konjaku: The following summarizes what has occurred in Chongwai#6 in 2017. Is it going to be turned into a “good example neighborhood” or is it going to be renovated?



Along with the thunderous boom of the excavator, the pale colored boards of one room after another tumble like toy building blocks. Yesterday afternoon, along the east side of Chongwai Road, at “Chongwai #6,” a stagnated redevelopment project that has started up and then lapsed into inactivity again many times, crews began the main task of demolishing illegal buildings. This stretch of 1600 square meters will be turned into a parking lot, convenient for residents, easing the parking problem for this neighborhood.

According to the local neighborhood committee deputy director, some of these buildings are over one hundred years old, although the majority are from the 1950s and 60s. The newest date from 1976, put up quickly after the Tangshan earthquake. Since then, no new buildings, no buildings built to code, have gone up in Chongwai#6. Except for the homes which residents have renovated themselves, the buildings are all illegal.

The deputy director said that by the end of this year, here and on surrounding streets and neighborhoods, there will be no more illegal buildings, no more homes converted without permission into storefronts, no more ads posted on walls –it will be turned into a “good example neighborhood.”

Reporter/photographer Wei Tong

As of 2017-07, the situation in Chongwai#6 is still uncertain, as seen in the following exchanges, on a Message Board for Local Leaders.


Hello, the redevelopment project for Chongwai#6 has been in existence for a long time. From 2007 up to the present, in these ten years it has not been completed. We common people think of how to allocate resources to the next generation and divide up the family property. Since there has been no demolition, our households are frozen in place. We cannot make any decisions on these matters. If you are going to demolish and move us out , go ahead and do it to your heart’s content. If you are not going to demolish, please don’t overlook Chongwai#6 and leave it in this frozen state. Thank you leaders! –No answer —

Dear Mayor, Hello! I am a resident of Chongwai #6. Today I heard that some representatives have been asked to fill out a form giving their opinions on demolition and transfer to new residences. Why is it that I and my neighbors know nothing about this? May I please ask, is this survey something that counts for something, or not? Is this something going on behind the scenes that we are not supposed to know about? Please help us, the residents of Chongwai#6 to protect our rights. Thank you.

Answer: response from a neighborhood committee member: I have checked with the residential district, and can confirm that the district did survey a random group of 500 families. At present the New World Corporation is still in charge of the demolition and relocation effort. The purpose of this questionnaire was to go a bit further in understanding the residents’ requirements. We are doing all we can to get the residents’ concerns on the process and report them faithfully to the higher authorities.The questionnaire has nothing to do with making decisions on how the demolition is to be done, or what the standards will be.

Thank you for your concern and support to Beijing City Building Management! We welcome your scrutiny of our work, and we value your suggestions.






The case of Jin Zhongyi, a tenant at Bajia Jiayuan

konjaku: while searching for information about Bajia Jiayuan, the housing development built for displaced Bajia villagers, I came across the following case. It is a matter not directly connected to the fate of Bajia village. It just happens that a man named Jin Zhongqi, a member of the Hui minority, was a tenant renting an apartment in the Bajia Jiayuan complex, when on 06-29-2016 he stabbed three people at a nearby bus-stop. There are two versions of the facts behind the case. In one version, Jin Zhongqi stabbed the three people as the result of a dispute after someone stepped on his foot on a public bus. In the other version, Jin Zhongqi was being followed and harassed by state security agents because he was a Weiquan (Rights protection) activist, and they provoked an altercation with him, which escalated into the stabbing incident.

The first source here is a standard mainland media account, which presents the first, official version of what happened. However, the reporter notes that the foot-stepping part of the story has yet to be confirmed. The second is from The Bejing News (Xin Jing Bao), which is considered more reformist and liberal. This article throws some doubt on the official version of events, and brings up the possibility that state security agents were involved. The third source is from the Epoch Times, based in New York, and therefore not subject to censorship. This article argues that the second version of the story is more likely to be true, and is being suppressed by the government.

The suspect in a murder case at a public bus stop is found dead. His remaining property can be used as compensation to the victims

the police issued this photo of the suspect Jin Zhongqi.

Photo: inside this small grove Jin Zhongqi hung himself and died


Jinghua Times reporter Han Tianbo, photographer

On 06-29-2016, Haidian district, at the Jingshuyuan commuter bus stop, a person stabbed three people with a knife and then ran away. Two died, the third was injured. The next day the Ministry of Public Security issued a class A order for his arrest. Yesterday afternoon the Haidian district police reported that on 07-03 the body of Jin Zhongqi was discovered in a grove by Yangtai Mountain in Haidian district. He had hung himself. Judging by the state of the body the police guessed he had died five or six days before, although a more exact time of death will be determined by further investigation.

The two fatalities were Li ——- (male, 27, from Heilongjiang province, company office worker) and Meng —- (male, 54, a resident of this city, unemployed). The injured person is a Mr Ye, (male, 31, a resident of this city, a recent college graduate). His wounds have stabilized, he is out of danger.

Yesterday at noon, this reporter went to Yangtai Mountain. A nearby restaurant worker said, At nightfall the day before yesterday, many police cars came.” That day was a Sunday, when Yangtai Mountain is crowded with tourists. Probably one of them discovered the body, which was in a secluded area along a path with trees on both sides. The body was considerably decomposed, and there were no personal effects left at the scene.

Residents in Bajia Jiayuan heaved a sigh of relief. They no longer had to fear the menace that this middle-aged man brought to their area. A Mr Li said, after the incident, “we heard the suspect ran away, and also that he lived in our residential community. Therefore we were all very afraid.” Not long before, the police had gone to the home of the suspect and were questioning neighbors about him.

Review of the incident

On 06-27, around 2 in the afternoon, at the Jingshuyuan bus stop in the Haidian district, a man got into an argument with another person, after which he pulled out a knife and stabbed three people. Two died, one was injured. After it became apparent that a crime had occurred, the man ran away.

Picture of the blood stained crime scene soon after spread on the web. Media accounts state that the dispute started when one man accused another of stepping on his foot, but this has not been confirmed by the police.

On 06-28, the police issued an award of 50,000 yuan for Jing Zhongqi.

Q: Since the suspect in this case has died, who will be responsible to pay the expenses incurred from treating the victims?

A: Jiang Jian, a lawyer from the Beijing Xiongzhi law office, said that the criminal code states that once the suspect has died, pursuing the deceased suspect’s responsibility for the crime is not possible. In this case, since the suspect is no longer alive, it become a civil responsibility. There are all the medical costs involved in treating victims, including compensation for missing work. For the deceased victims, there are funeral expenses. These expenses can come from the estate of the suspect, if any such funds exist. If not, the court can order the distribution of benefits in its final ruling on the case.

Jinghua Times reporters Han Tianbo, Chang Xin


konjaku: the second source:

At Jin Zhongqi’s residence on the 30th floor, yesterday at a certain residential community in Haidian district.


Why did Jin Zhongqi attack persons with a knife? According to an eyewitness, while riding a commuter bus, there was a dispute that someone stepped on his foot. With a knife he stabbed Li — and Meng—, then fled. In flight, he encountered Ye — and stabbed him too.

Concerning this, an area bus dispatcher said, the police definitely established that Li– was riding the 577 bus at the time in question. But the driver of the bus said, when questioned by the police, that there had been no dispute on the bus. What happened after the passengers got off the bus, of that the bus driver has no knowledge.

After the incident, there was a rumor that the victims were state security police [who were following Jin Zhongqi]. In response, Li’s family members stated that this was not true, that Li— was an office worker at a computer company. He did not know Jin Zhongqi or the other murdered victim. Relatives of Meng and Ye also denied this rumor.

06-27 began as an ordinary day.

In his job at the computer company, Li was in charge of maintaining the multi-media equipment at colleges and universities. That day, he had received a call from Beijing Jiaotong University that a hard drive in one of their classroom computers was not working, and they wanted him to come repair it. After graduating with a degree in computing at a university in Heilong Jiang, he had come to Beijing to seek his fortune. His elder brother said this was his second job, and that before this he had had another computer related job.

Ye was a Ph.D candidate in the 2013 class of the Academy of Sciences. This young person of 31 was very busy with preparations to complete his degree. In the middle of the 7th month he was planning to move to Nanjing to take up a job in environmental research. On this day he was submitting an application to driver’s school. He wanted to have a driver’s license in hand when he reported for his new job.

At 2 in the afternoon, Li Gang was waiting to transfer at the Jingshuyuan stop, on his way to his client. Ye had just got out of a car near the bus stop and was going back to where had parked his bicycle to return to school.

Then the calamity occurred: a man took out a 20 centimeter knife, and stabbed Li and Meng. Then he stabbed Ye, who has not far away.

The suspect who assaulted them was not someone anyone of them knew.

The suspect Jin Zhongqi claimed he was being followed by state security police, and that they were operating from apartments adjacent to his apartment.

Jin Zhongqi lived in apartment 3002, on the 30th floor. On this floor there were four units in all. Units 3001 and 3004 are unoccupied, and not yet fixed up for new tenants. The woman who lives in 3003 said that she hardly had any contact with Jin Zhongqi at all, but somehow, in some indistinct way, a situation arose in regard to him.
Although she was unaware at the time, apparently a person suspected to be Jin Zhongqi posted on Weibo that state security policy and weiwen (“upholding stability”) agents were occupying her apartment (3003) and 2902, the apartment directly one floor below his.
In 2092, there is a family of three. A woman who lives there said Jin Zhongqi was a tenant who had been there for one or two years. They had had several encounters with him.
“A year ago, Jin Zhongqi knocked on our door. He said there were people following him, he claimed that the people who were following him ran into our residence. He said my husband was one of them, a member of their group.” The woman resident said this left her completely baffled. “Right after he left the police came and told me he had mental problems. They said not to open the door to him anymore.”

But to other residents in the complex, Jin Zhongqi seemed very ordinary. A building maintainance staff member said, whenever he had dealings with him, he seemed perfectly normal. Another resident said, he saw Jin Zhongqi walking the day before the incident, and there wasn’t anything unusual about him.

An elderly neighbor was astounded when he heard Jin Zhongqi had harmed anyone. “He was an honest person. Whenever someone had a problem, he was always willing to help.” This neighbor said that many years ago, when Jin Zhongqi lived in a one story house, he saw an old lady lighting some coal, and he stopped to help her by fanning the pile to get it going. Although not a noisy or chattering type person, he never failed to greet his neighbors warmly when he saw them.

Many neighbors confirmed that thirty years ago, in Zhongqi had become afflicted with a mental illness. “It seems like his emotional problems led to the incident” one said.

The Ministry of Public Security class A order for Jin Zhongqi’s arrest lists his address as Haidian district Madianjiedong village Number 8, but this no longer exists. The old house was demolished around 1999, and the people there were all moved to the Madian Yulanyuan community (The Yulanyuan community is a “minority resident focal-point community for Hui minority Beijing residents). But Jin Zhongqi and his older sister did not move into that community with the other neighbors. The community residents said that the area where Jin Zhongqi’s old house used to be, has now been made into a park.

One former neighbor said, Jin Zhongqi’s family used to be reasonably well-off. Some family members worked in a toy factory. Another said that on 06-30, Jin Zhongqi’s elder sister died of heart disease. “ Her health had suffered when they had moved out of their old house, and she had never completely recovered. When people told her of the incident involving ‘little Jin,’ that was the last straw.”

On 06-15, a person suspected to be Jin Zhongqi posted on Weibo that “once again the state security police may initiate violence by provoking a quarrel, and they have determined the place where they will start a fight will be on a commuter bus.”
konjaku: for the background of “upholding stability” agents see:

note: Jin Zhongqi is another displaced villager, whose house was demolished “around 1999” long before the current urban-rural unification project. Although this may have no connection to the incident in question here, it is possible that losing his home may have caused him to become a Weiquan activist, or to harbor strong feelings toward the state security police.

konjaku: the third source:

Epoch Times 2016-07-05, reporter Yang Yifan

On July 4. mainland media outlets said that Weiquan (rights protection) activist Jin Zhongqi had committed suicide. Up to this point the government had not disclosed any information on the case. On the web it was disseminated that two of the people Jin Zhongqi stabbed to death were possibly state security police agents. Observers both inside and outside the country said it was necessary to be cautious about the government’s claim that he had committed suicide. Rather, the government may have eliminated Jin Zhongqi in order to conceal the truth about the incident, and prevent him from telling his version of the story.

The Jinghua Times (a mainland media outlet) released the news on 07-04 that Jin Zhongqi had been found, and that he had committed suicide. On 07-03, all Beijing police stations, having been previously notified, rescinded the order for his arrest.

On 06-28, the Ministry of Public Security issued the order for the arrest of Jin Zhongqi, but although it stated he killed two people, it contained no information about the victims.

In its initial public notices, the government kept all information on the two murdered victims secret, but revealed details about the man who was injured. The Independent Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars director Guyi posted (from the US) to the mainland internet forum Tianya, asking that the identity of the two victims be revealed, but his comment was erased. Guyi then posted on Radio Free Asia that the government may have some reason not to make public information on the identity of the victims[links below]. Did Jin Zhongqi really willfully murder anyone? Or was it legitimate self-defense?

A mainland reporter said five separate departments of Public Security are working on this case, a sign that they give it special importance.

On 06-23, a person believed to be Jin Zhongqi posted on Weibo, “last night in the corridor a state security agent spoke to me, ‘how about it, how about it, do you think we are unfair?’ I replied, ‘you state police spend all your time setting traps, provoking quarrels so you can use violence, harassing us like hoodlums. Using your position as police you stop at nothing to illegally take the lives of the people.Can you say you behave fairly?’ The panda [slang term for secret police] was left speechless.”

Guyi believes that if Zhongqi really killed two state security agents, the government would wish to suppress this story. Just as in the case of another dissident, Li Wangyang, who is supposed to have hung himself in his jail cell, it is possible that what the government claims was suicide was actually killing the witness to prevent him from talking.
Another Weiquan activist, Dong Xiqin, told this newspaper that Jin Zhongqi was a kind and decent man, always willing to help others. He believes Jin was followed by state security agents for a long time, and was driven to take an extreme action, for which he cannot be blamed.

A foreign newspaper reported on 07-04 that Ni Yulan, a Weiquan activist, said that for many years Jin had helped other Weiquan members, and for this had been placed under house arrest. He was threatened repeatedly, had his water and gas shut off. Every day he was pushed, shoved and beaten up by state security agents. Once he said to Ni Yulan, the government is not afraid of us standing on street corners holding protest signs, but what they are afraid of is the kind of violent resistance practiced by Yang Jia. And he was willing to be like Yang Jia.

konjaku: Yang Jia received both national and international attention, after he killed six policeman and injured others at a Shanghai police station in 2008 in retaliation for being roughed up by police in a previous incident. According to the Wikipedia account:

While there was initial public anger at the killings, Western media noted that discourse on Chinese internet forums and blogs soon became largely sympathetic to Yang, with many expressing suspicions that Yang might not receive a fair trial and that the police might want to cover up wrongdoings of their own.The Daily Telegraph quoted one Chinese blogger as praising Yang’s “strong sense of the law” and another comparing him to Wu Song, a hero in Chinese literature.A message left on Yang’s MySpace account was reported to have read: “You have done what most people want to do, but do not have enough courage to do.”
Radio Free Asia links

Bajia memories and the new housing for displaced residents


konjaku: here is another photo of Bajia, from

which collects photos by “Zhongguancun” which originally appeared on Panoramio, of Bajia under demolition. This building was a bathhouse. The sign advertises “Separate rooms –Sauna no charge.”

konjaku: The person who posted “Disappearing Bajia and Street Culture” (previous post) also posted a number of Bajia photos. I reproduce some here, with her captions.

Starting in 2009-07, I lived in Bajia for one year, and witness the changes the city space went through. By degrees the village was demolished. With just my camera I recorded the traces of Bajia, I was thinking of making a documentary film, but in the end I did not pursue it.

The landscape of the city one is accustomed to seeing in daily life can vanish at any moment. We can only leave behind these simple records, memories of Bajia.

Shuangqing Road

This building in the process of demolition probably used to be a kindergarden, because of the mural of flowers floating in the sky. Among the wreckage is a toilet.


This was Bajia’s only large supermarket. Although a supermarket,  it was very localized.


This was Shuangqing Road near Lindabei Road. Mostly bicycles and pedicabs. Taxis did not like to come here.


On Shuangqing Road changes were quite sudden. Businesses replaced each other frequently, new buildings went up so quickly they seemed to rise from the ground.


Nights in the summer were pleasantly cool, and eating stalls did a good business. Tables were set out all over the neighborhood.


Here is a building the occupants built themselves, with flowerpots spread on top of the wall, carefully tended.


At the house of Wang ayi (auntie), one day this labrador dog suddenly appeared in her courtyard, and it lived with them. She cultivated many plants, and they had four cats.


A foundation laying ceremony was held for the replacement housing which will be built on the village site. Once the ceremony was over, people dismantled the platform


After the foundation laying ceremony, people look at the map and plan for the replacement housing


In an area in which the demolition has been completed, children play in the empty space


Excavators waiting to be used for demolition


konjaku:Several photo captions above make reference to a residential complex to be built for the villagers within the village site. The wedge shaped parcel of land making up the Bajia area seems to have been divided up into sections: a part to Qinghua University, a part to become a park, a part, North Bajia, left as is, and one part to a residential complex for the displaced residents, called Bajia Jiayuan 八家嘉苑.

the park:


Bajia Jiayuan involved a capital investment of 1.78 billion yuan (259 million dollars). The poured concrete buildings have underground parking lots, central heating, health facilities (exercise rooms and/or outdoor exercise equipment), gardens and green spaces, a security system with cameras, a checkpoint with guards at the entrance, etc. As for the residential area, it is well served by commuter buses, and supermarkets as well as shopping centers, comprising a complete set of everything the residents need for daily life.

Bajia Jiayuan:



Village#10 Bajia: “In the future it is possible there will be no people who remember…”

konjaku: with the tenth village, we move from Chaoyang District to Haidian.

Demolition starts in Haidian district Bajia area

The Haidian district government announced yesterday that the plan for the Bajia area in Dongsheng town is to start up construction on replacement housing on the 20th month of this year. Construction will be completed by 2011-05. Work will formally begin on 07-01 on putting the Bajia area in order.

At present, Haidian district has already began clearing away illegal buildings in the Bajia area. The construction crew is going forward with the effort to clear up and return misappropriated property. They have finished the job of drawing up compensation estimates for 120,000 square meters of village collective property. They have demolished 10,000 square meters of village buildings. They have surveyed 1006 households on their residential status, 92 percent of the total. They have also began to give out basic information and numbers on the replacement housing.

Haidian district Head Chang Linfu said, this was part of the new pilot project to link urban and rural together, following the example of Beiwu village.

Bajia area is located north of the Qinghua Science and Technology Park. Information on the area to be demolished has already been disseminated. The villagers said they do not yet know when they will relocate. If there is any whatever sign of a disturbance related to the move the villagers say they will assemble right away.

Demolition of state owned buildings in South Bajia village has already begun. Yesterday, businesses that rent spaces in roadside buildings were selling off their stock of clothing at bargain prices. They must be out by 08-25. From 09-05, these buildings will no longer have water or electricity. Even though their leases are far from expiring, they have been given no information about compensation.

52 year old Ms Zhao lives in an old house compound of 240 square meters with six family members. She said Dongsheng town and village committee staff have come to investigate, checking that each family member is a registered permanent resident , and measuring their property. They have also been asked their opinion on the size of their replacement residence.

On the left side of the village entrance, there is a two story building. It is obvious that the truncated second story was added recently –a villager said several months ago. Walking through the village, one sees a number of similar buildings. A Mr Meng was reluctant to discuss the reason for this. Instead he responded with a question, “If everyone else is doing it, why can’t I?”

On 07-21, Dongsheng town government and Dongsheng District Office put up notices demanding an end to illegal construction. These notices were posted in many places, but within 15 days they were all torn down. Yesterday, walking around the South Bajia neighborhood, one heard everywhere the sound of chain saws. The village is undergoing a construction boom…

Ms Zhao said she heard from the village production brigade that South Bajia was going to demolished, and the villagers would move into multi-story residential buildings north of North Bajia, and they would acquire urban permanent resident status.

Ms Zhao said her family rents out several rooms for a monthly income of 3000 yuan. She doesn’t have to pay for heat for these rooms. But in the new housing things will change. She will have to pay for heat, and also pay a monthly building maintenance fee. But considering they will become urban residents, Ms Zhao is glad for her grandson’s sake. “He will be able to through the Haidian district educational system, which is very good. He will enjoy the benefit of going to good schools.”

konjaku: instead of “ Bajia village,” this article refers to the Bajia area, which is apparently divided between “South Bajia village” and “North Bajia village” (literally, “front Bajia” and “rear Bajia.”) As becomes clear, South Bajia was demolished, North Bajia remains.

Bajia area 八家地区
South Bajia 前八家村 Qianbajia
North Bajia 后八家村 Houbajia

konjaku: a villager’s perspective, from a blog post:

Beijing! Through a totally unprincipled policy, based on fraud, Bajia is forced into a frenzied demolition


Bajia village is located between the fourth and fifth ring in Haidian district. It is a close neighbor to eight speciality colleges, to Zhongguancun (Beijing’s silicon valley), and to a lively business district. I am a Bajia villager, just one minor, insignificant person. My family has lived in Bajia for generations. This year the Beijing Commission of Housing and Urban Rural Development started up the project to transform urban villages, and Bajia is number 10 on the list.

First, let’s take a look at our compensation rate. (the Commission submitted a compensation plan dated 2010, but they actually gave us rates based on the 2003 standard! This is cheating those above and below! ) The computation goes like this: the compensation rate for homesteads in our area –5625 yuan per square meter, times the area of the individual homestead, plus the replacement price for the demolished building.

Essentially, with an average homestead ares of 150 square meters, this comes to 150 X 5625 =843750 yuan (126,490 dollars by the 2016 exchange rate).

Government officials, what on earth is this? Did you yourselves come up with this?

Now the administration is signalling that starting 05-30 they wil begin forcible demolitions!
Todays consultative conference is to get people to sign agreements on false pretenses!
They say only after you choose your replacement residence, will they discuss your compensation rate. But you must sign the agreement, before you can pick your residence! Is this not signing into a swindle?

When some people requested to see the demolition permit Secretary Cao Guangqing said, “If you sign the agreement, then you can see it.”

Addressing fellow villagers:
If you feel you can sign the agreement, go ahead and sign! I think an ordinary person might take a wait and see attitude. Hold your opinion in private. Wait three ot five days, see if there is room to bargain over the compensation rate.

Take a look at land prices, real estate prices in this area. You really already know. Once the village homesteads are gone, there will be a 27 story building standing in their place. Compare the astronomical profits they will get selling off space in this building, to the meagre compensation we are getting…

konjaku: this is a partial translation. I have left out some of the writer’s advice and appeals to fellow villagers. The text concludes by quoting Qu Qiuba’s version of the Internationale.

eight speciality colleges 八大学院

konjaku: photos of the village committee headquarters (a nice fountain and a parking lot of good looking cars)

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 10.34.33 AM.png

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 10.34.50 AM.png

konjaku: six months later…

In South Bajia village they begin forcible demolition of resisting households


South Bajia is something rarely seen in Beijing, a still undeveloped agricultural village of some 1000 households, next to Tsinghua University and eight speciality colleges. Its development prospect is like a goose that can’t stop laying golden eggs. Therefore all the large scale development companies want to get their fingers on the piece of land on which this “urban village” sits. In 2010, a mysterious investor or financial group started to transform Bajia for the ostensible reason of “improving the environment.” It spent six months on “persuasion and education.” Meanwhile, the large development companies were waiting, with their mouths watering. While 80% of the residents signed contracts and moved out, 20% stayed in place. Their houses were like isolated islands standing upright amid a sea of debris (photo).


The two sides were deadlocked for half a year, then today Beijing made its move. A force of more than 100 policemen, public security, and city management personel started to forcibly demolish the two story business building and residence. In the video one can see two large excavators advancing side by side, breaking down the building with devastating force, raising a cloud of dust. Among the group of government employees and leaders standing there, not one holds his nose or moves away. Beijing state employees have this kind of spirit of respecting work, but in actuality it is rare to see them on the job site. At 7 this morning government employees carefully removed the people and the furniture from inside the building. This forcible demolition, “killing one to warn one hundred,” will cause the 200 resisting families dispersed throughout Bajia village (photo) to start to make preparations.


They estimate that one month from now, the curtain will rise on the grand finale of forcibly clearing the whole plot of land next to the world-famous Tsinghua University.


konjaku: speaking of Tsinghua University and its designs on Bajia village land…

Tsinghua University’s preferential housing policy violates the public interest

Tsinghua University President Gu Binglin said, with the one hundredth anniversary of Tsinghua University coming up in 2011, they want to solve the problem of providing housing for new faculty members, because they have a number of newly hired, young faculty members who cannot afford to buy homes. He said, at present, the rate of progress in demolition and relocation of QianBajia and HouBajia was not ideal. Tsinghua’s plan is to build 500,000 square feet of faculty housing.

The other day Tsinghua University announced it was building 1000 units of faculty housing, with 5000 more on the way. This preferential housing policy excited a lot of comment on the internet. The Tsinghua University President proudly stated that “within ten years we will no longer have to worry about a faculty housing problem.” He indicated that, after the one hundred year anniversary, the University will start a large scale housing allotment program. Faculty will only have to pay twenty or thirty percent of the market price of their new housing. The first 1000 residences have already been built and given to faculty members. The plan is for the next 5000 residences to be built in QianBajia and HouBajia.

However, the public has many doubts concerning this: can Qinghua University claim the land of these two villages as its own, and will the University follow the required legal stipulations before building?

“Having a very large purse,” “possessing boldness of vision”– these are representative comments on the web. Taking a quick look, roughly fifty percent admire the move, fifty percent are dissatisfied.

Preferential housing sabotages public benefit

Starting with the third month, new residential developments near Qinghua Garden were priced at 38,000 yuan per square meter (data from Anjuke and Soufang net). Some people who wanted to buy homes heaved a sigh, others were full of discontent. However, the elite of Tsinghua Garden are silent on the matter of the housing problem.

“Qinghua University faculty are not really of the social stratum that qualifies for preferential treatment allowing them to pay less for housing. The government should allot the land for those who are really in need. If the available land in Haidan district decreases after Tsinghua University gets what it wants, then everyone else who wants to purchase residences will face more competition, and higher prices, for fewer housing choices, ” Beijing real estate specialist Chin Bing commented.

According to Chin Bing, unless Qinghua University can prove that the land on which QianBajia and HouBajia sits originally belonged to the University, it will be difficult to remove doubts that they are trying to seize public resources, wealth and benefits belonging to village residents and the public. If the village land is not granted to Qinghua University, it will be turned into market priced housing. The profits from sales of those residences will be income going back to the government, which will in turn benefit the residents.

[The article continues with an analysis of preferential housing in general]

福利房 preferential housing

konjaku: if new residential housing in the area is priced at 38,000 yuan per square meter, one can see how the Bajia villagers may have felt that a compensation rate of 5625 yuan per square meter did not reflect the profits that would ensue when their land was developed. Clearly the land is valuable: developers want it, Tsinghua University wants it.

Website which collects photos of Bajia under demolition




konjaku: In 2015 a person named Ping Jing 冯婧 posted a sensitive portrait of Bajia

Disappearing Bajia and street culture



In modern cities large scale streets are gradually replacing the smaller streets of residential neighborhoods. The large streets are more convenient for cars, but as people drive these streets their only objective is to get to their goal as quickly as possible. Their interest in whatever is along the road they are traversing is considerably reduced.

In the future it is possible there will be no people who remember Bajia. It was once the urban village that in all Beijing was the dirtiest, noisiest, most crowded, most lagging behind the times. Six years ago Bajia was fully of vitality, and now it has been demolished.

Bajia is close to Qinghua University. Most of the village land has been requisitioned to build dormitories for the university.

Starting in 2003, real estate and land prices rose. The cost to requisition land and relocate residents became higher, and the pace of transforming the village slowed. In 2010, the village was finally demolished. In 2010, there were close to 2400 villagers, who chiefly made their living by renting out rooms.

Starting in 1992, a flea market took form in Bajia, followed by three large scale markets. Around 1995, a number of migrants appeared in the village, making their living as gleaners and scrap collectors. After that a number of flea markets were closed down, but the migrant population stayed.

The urban village functions as a bridge or way station for the floating population moving into the rapidly developing modern city. Lodging and essentials for living are inexpensive. The urban village is a buffer zone that serves as a cushion against the contradictions of the larger society. But as the suburban districts urbanize and land prices rise, the urban villages face extinction.

In Beijing, similar to Shenzhen, many artists’ colonies have settled in the urban villages on the outskirts. Bajia is not far from many of these colonies, but it is not so romantic, having embraced a different, grim reality: garbage.

Bajia is well known as a garbage reclamation site. Bajia is divided into Qian (front) Bajia to the south and Hou (rear) Bajia to the north. In South Bajia the majority of the gleaners make their living on any kind of garbage, but North Bajia specializes in dismantling and recycling used electronic products.

Bajia is close to Zhongguancun (Beijing’s silicon valley), it is known as the “electronic refuse transfer station. It collects most of Beijing’s discarded electronics. As one person said, “because Zhongguancun sells so many computers, we have so many old computers to disassemble.”

These garbage recyclers make an enormous contribution. Six years ago, from the window of my apartment, I looked down on an open space of refuse heaps surrounded by various tall buildings. People worked in this area, constantly moving about from morning to night, producing a “paper and cardboard mountain” a “plastics mountain” a “wooden boards mountain.” For me this enormous scene was surrealistic.


Using three wheeled pedicabs, these people scoured the imperial capital, collecting anything reusable from what had been cast aside. But because the refuse collection lacked management, it created environmental problems. There was garbage piled on the sides of roads, garbage inside people’s household compounds, garbage piled up everywhere. Some people believe this had an influence on the city’s actions. In the past people proposed organizing all the gleaners into one cooperative.

I have noticed the different characteristics of each neighborhood.
From Heqing Road to Wudaokou district, there is lots of lush greenery and a wide sidewalk, but very few people or cars. No small venders set up here, since there are so few people. The bicycle lanes have been converted to parking lots. The area seems desolate, not safe to walk in at night.

Along Lindabei Road up to Shuangqing Road, there are residential buildings, with small venders set up on the sidewalk. They can take advantage of the shade cast by the trees planted there, but the streets are only lively in the afternoon.

Xueyuan Road is a more typical Beijing city street. There are commuter buses, bicycle lanes, pedestrian overpasses, and many hurrying pedestrians. There are occasionally small venders near bus stops and road intersections, but they have to be careful to avoid the surprise attacks of city management personnel.

Shuangqing Road is a special case. It is the main street of Bajia, an old street with a special meaning. It is the stage upon which one can see the development of the city and its transformation.

Because Bajia is close to Qinghua University and other colleges, Qinghua Science and Technology Park, Zhongguancun, the Wudaokou neighborhood ( an area with many international students and Koreans), there are many university students, professors, IT white collar workers, and all sorts of temporary workers. In 2009 I rented a three room apartment with four just graduated college students and one graduate student who had just gotten employment.


Differences in income came from the diversity in the urban space. Along Shuangqing Road one can see the social stratum in action. There are two groups. One is the “northern floaters” (college graduates looking for jobs in the tech field) who live in the east side residential district. Based on their knowledge and skill levels they anticipate getting good jobs, as long as they make a great effort.
The other group lives in one story houses on the west side. The majority are gleaners, but some are peasants who have come from elsewhere to do industrial work. They are physical laborers who, besides supporting themselves, must save money to send back to their families in their hometowns. Although they live in the big city, as manual laborers they don’t have many chances to go and find out about the city they live in. In Bajia there are even some rental rooms that have no exposure to sunlight. Since the laborers who rent them leave before dawn and return after nightfall, there is no reason when building the room to go through the extra expense to make sure it gets sunlight — that is an unnecessary luxury.

Shuangqing Road is the busiest street I have seen in Beijing. On its east side are high rise buildings, the result of city planning, consisting of residential towers, a restaurant, and a research institute. On the west side are one story houses. When I first arrived in Bajia, the sidewalk of Shuangqing Road was piled with old household furniture. This 100 meter strip of sidewalk had become a small vender’s showcase, and beside that there was an amazing amount of piles of various types of old clothes, wastepaper, plastic pet bottles, etc.

In the afternoon, the gleaners return, and the sidewalk become more chaotic, even dangerous. Pedestrians squeeze through the narrow space left in this mix of three wheeled pedicabs, bicycles, electric motor scooters, carts, trucks, and passenger cars. At the south end of Shuangqing Road there is a train crossing, but it is at a four way intersection, causing huge traffic jams everyday. The ordinary taxi driver is reluctant to even come to Bajia.

The small stores and shops that line Shuangqing Road are social meeting places, brimming with vitality. A narrow and small grocery store is completely filled with items aimed at the floating population. Small restaurants offer different regional foods to satisfy the migrants who want to eat their hometown cuisine. There are hair salons, car repair shops, hardware stores. When I lived there, I bought most of my necessities at the small grocery store, because its prices were half that of a regular supermarket, or even less.

Since members of the floating population do not live here for a long time, they do not see the need to purchase better quality goods. This habit spurs the prosperity of the small stores.

In the case of small stores like the grocery store, the store is at the front, while the interior consists of a stock storeroom and the owner’s living quarters. The owner does not have to rent another place to live, and can do business late into the night. These kind of compact city spaces have been mentioned in the past by other urban researchers, This type of space in which many different functions and social activities are mixed together under one roof, is a distinguishing feature of urban villages. But behind the flourishing of these small stores, there is fierce competition. There is always some store undergoing renovation, to try and edge out the others. Even after the demolition started, businesses felt the need to collect profits right up to the end: it was possible to still eat a meal in a restaurant, even though that restaurant was slated to be demolished the next morning.

Every afternoon, stalls selling vegetables, fruits, and sundries take over half the road. The vegetable sellers leave after they have sold all their stock. They use three wheeled flat bottomed carts to haul their goods. A piece of cloth spread out on the ground constitutes their stalls. The vegetables they sell are for the most part what is left over from other markets in Beijing. The small vendors who live in this area manage to collect this produce from other markets at the point they are closing up, so they are able to sell at a reduced price. Doing this everyday they accumulate a small pile of money.

Those who sell fruit sell out of open trucks. They are there everyday, staying until late at night, because those who come home on commuter buses after work must walk along the street and pass by them on the way home. It is tempting to buy fresh fruit when a person is just a few steps from home. Because there are no street lights, the venders set up their own lights to illuminate their fruit. Their lights also illuminate three wheeled pedicabs loaded with refuse as they go by, and passersby longing to get home to a warm bed. The trucks form a neat and tidy line, and those who pass by are treated to what amounts to a fashion parade of fruit.


The Bajia night market are well known. The night market is mainly around the intersection of Shuangqing Road and Lindabei Road, which is also the only way to enter into Bajia. There is another night market in the vicinity of the Wudong light rail station. This one sells clothes and small items. There are many roving singers and beggars. Young people and foreigners often stroll through this market for diversion. The Bajia night market consists of open air food stalls, selling malatang (skewered items cooked in a spicy broth), barbequed meats, and all kinds of snacks. Most of those walking through it are Bajia residents. This seems to be the place local people go to to fill their bellies.


Bajia’s neighborhood streets were always chaotic, but unlike other neighborhoods in the vicinity, they did not close down at night and become ghost towns. The continual vitality caused people to feel secure. No matter what time of night, there was always someone walking by, people hurrying home. Or, a pedicab loaded with goods going by, some small venders set up on a corner. These people watched over the neighborhood.

Once these neighborhood streets are looked at merely as a means for cars to get somewhere, the criteria for them is whether they allow an unobstructed passage or not, whether the flow of people and traffic is bunching up or not. The main issue becomes how much they benefit the overall traffic plan. As the streets are transformed for cars, peoples’ desire for cars becomes greater. It is like straightening out a river for the purpose of flood control. The river loses its ability to retain water, and eventually dries up.

In the eyes of some cultural critics, Shuangqing Road is the type of neighborhood street which should be preserved. However, it is difficult for such streets to escape extinction. Shuangqing Road is very narrow. Buses can only go through it single file. Small venders occupy about one quarter of the road. People pass by after work pushing their bicycles, their eyes on the vegetables and other things for sale, their ears assaulted hy the venders’ cries.

This type of street provides a stable space for small venders, who come back day after day instead of constantly moving to different locations. People like to walk around and buy small things, inexpensive fresh produce, and they like to joke with the venders. They feel assured that the same venders will be there everyday, it creates a distinctive social space.

In 2010 ground was broken for replacement housing for Bajia residents. Some residents were going to move into a development north of the village, while other residents were allotted residences further away. When I went to the demolition site to take photos, I met an old couple who had nothing except a labrador dog which they were pulling. They said, the dog had one day wandered into their household compound and had lived with them ever since. They had a rooftop garden where they grew vegetables, from which they could look out on the whole village. Today, I do not know where this couple has moved to, or whether they still cherish their memories of the old Bajia.


A cultural critic might say that behind the chaotic spaces, there lies a mysterious order. But a certain aspect that everyone can see is indeed ugly and disorderly. To pretend there is a perfect order, is to turn a blind eye to the actual order which is in the process of struggling to come into existence. Which is the chaos, and which is the order, has not been fully researched. People frequently judge by appearances only. Urban culture is not necessarily tolerant of emerging new forms and diversity, rather it urgently decks itself in the brightest colors at the expense of anything else.

The Bajia I remember has now disappeared. That Bajia hid into itself the waste of the large city. I witnessed in it the not entirely cordial relationship between the floating population and the modern consumer city, along with other uneasily co-existing interest groups. I have written this to remember Bajia as it once existed.

konjaku: this article describes former Bajia residents who somehow did not get on board with the official relocation project and ended up in a nearby village, where they began waiting for compensation all over again.

Nowadays, going out from Qinghua University northeast gate, there is a broad, flat piece of land with four rows of parked cars. However, the old people in Qinghua Park know that four years ago, that here there was a meandering path here that led to Bajia village.

In the plan for Qinghua University, the main area of the campus was fixed in advance. But there was one piece of Qinghua University land that for many years was not officially included in the plan. It was like a wedge nailed into the otherwise orderly plan, like psoriasis on a beautiful scalp. 2009-11, a letter signed by a “Qinghua University Professor” written to the Beijing planning committee stated that the line of sight of Qinghua people leads directly to something that has been pasted with a negative label, namely, an “urban village.”

The influence of Bajia: jobless vagrants, garbage, waste water, and musky coal dust, seeped into the area around Qinghua University and Beijing Forestry College. For people in that area, these were their only impressions of Bajia. Household heads did not want their children anywhere near what they considered to be a “red light district.” Bajia was like a frenetic compressed space in the city, a narrow gap in which it was difficult even to breathe.

In 2010, when Beijing city issued its list of fifty focal-point urban villages, there was the name, Bajia. Very quickly, in the roar of bulldozers and excavators, Bajia was razed to the ground. This piece of land was incorporated back into Qinghua University, just before its one hundred year anniversary.

With a compensation of 5625 yuan per square meter, the residents separated from the rubble that had once been their village. What has happened to the former residents?

Originally, many Bajia residents were initially siphoned into to Shucun (Tree Village).

If you ride the Number 4 bus out of Qinghua University West gate, going northward five stops you reach a sign that says, “Shucun east entrance.” As you approach the entrance, there is a bumpy and uneven sandstone road which many vehicles are making their way. Fruit peels, plastic bags, even dead kittens float in a stream of waste water that washes over the road surface.

Every day life goes on in this kind of environment, but old Mr Wang is unwilling to let anyone use the term “slum” to describe Shucun. “In this village there are plenty of people with money. They can afford to rent rooms here. These days, how many people can say that?”

A house, that is the issue Mr Wang agonizes over. Buying a car is no problem, but buying a house is different. He sighed, and explained.

Those [from Bajia] who were able to move out of this village, have all moved away. Those of us who remain behind ‘have to overcome all our difficulties.’ I stay here to look after the house we were given.” Mr Wang’s daughters have already moved out of Shucun into a multi-story residential building, yet Mr Wang and his wife are sticking with the old house they have here. They spend every day walking aimlessly in circles around Shucun, like stray dogs.

There are many people here like the Wang’s, who have stayed behind to take care of the old houses they are in. Another is a retired army officer who is in a 200 square meter house, just waiting for it to be demolished. He grumbled to this reporter, “They said it would be in the third month, but they didn’t say the third month of what year. I don’t know if I have to wait till next year or not.”

In the eyes of Beijingers, “waiting” is not the only strategy for the maximum compensation amount possible. As they anticipate that day in the future when their property is requisitioned, they unceasingly pursue ways to strengthen their “holdings.”

Originally Shucun was composed of one story houses, but now there are many with three stories. A road that was once wide enough for one car to pass through, is now only wide enough for one pedestrian to walk through. Walking into the village, the road is densely packed with stores and houses of wildly different sizes which jut out unevenly. About half of the built-on houses use corrugated iron sheeting for the upper floors. It sticks out several square meters more than normal. Those who have added on to their houses leave piles of their extra material wherever they please. At noon smoke seeps out from the crudely constructed iron siding. The smell of cooking food and the smell of dust stirred up by passing cars mingles together, permeating this village that is like a labyrinth.

“Right now there is no administration, and households have the last word over their own affairs.” Referring to the lack of action by the village committee and the town government in the village , villager Liu Xiuzhen’s voice rose with indignation. “I married into this village more than 50 years ago,and Shucun has always been like this. Old people say, the demolition and relocation is coming, and all they think about is the surface area of their homes. They build on, and now the road is so narrow one can only see a strip of sky!” she continued grumbling.

Every time it rains, people have to endure the stench of the sewers overflowing and flowing over the streets. Every time there is a strong wind, people’s clothes become permeated with dust. But, thinking of a generous compensation fund waiting for them, they persist in staying on in this garbage heap of a village.

Ten years ago, there was a rumor that Shucun was about to be demolished. Just as today, nothing happened. Villager Chen Baoshan said, because the leaders did not seize the opportunity, the village was not transformed, and today there is not a single industry in the village. Mr Bai, the ombudsman for the village, said they have been waiting for the village committee to tackle the village problems. But because the date for impending demolition has not been decided, the
village committee is reluctant to spend money and energy on something which is soon to disappear.

Those who are expanding their property as they wait for demolition and relocation compensation are not by any means alone in Shucun. There are more than 1500 migrants crowding into the village. Compared with the the 1190 households in the village, this is a ratio of 10:1.

In Mr Wang’s eyes, these migrants have “plenty of money” because they are able rent rooms in the expanded properties of the villagers. He thinks they are more wealthy than the village residents.

One such person, Lei Ming (an alias) said: “When I was earning wages I made 20,000 a month or more. Even though I earned this much I was not able to buy a residence in a multi-story building. When I first left the countryside, with my wages I could have paid one month’s mortgage on a multi-story building with 1800 yuan left over, but in my hometown, I could have bought a house just with the one month’s wages. What is so great about multi-story buildings? As one man, it is not a worthwhile reward for all my labor.”

Lei Ming, 32 years old, from a village in Sichuan, is one of those migrants whom Mr Wang considers to be rich. “One who rushes to Beijing,” “Hungry and ignorant,” “Talking big, acting forceful” “Lost all his money in a business venture,” these phrases summarize Lei Ming’s life so far.

Lei Ming came to Beijing in 2001. He did a stint with Public Security, was a temporary worker, engaged in pyramid schemes, marketing, worked for so many different businesses he can’t name them all. In 2003 during the SARS outbreak, Lei Ming was unemployed. He was reduced to asking his nephew for a book of supermarket gift coupons, which he used to buy instant noodles. This was what he lived off of then.

But he managed to live through those days of hardship , and three years later Lei Ming teamed up with another person to sell homes. This was his “talking big, acting forceful” period. Every day he got 30 yuan, not enough to eat a meal in a restaurant. But he gradually accumulated experience on how to sell homes, and began selling homes himself. “It was a real struggle. On the computer, on the phone, each home took a lot of work.” However Beijing was getting ready for the Olympics, and a lot of houses starting selling. That was when Lei Ming started to make 20,000 yuan a month.

After the Olympics, the housing market started to slip, and Lei Ming lost faith in it. He invested in a business venture, and lost all the money he had earned when it failed. “I was young and inexperienced, I went over my head.” Ever since he “rushed into Beijing” years ago he has always lived in Shucun, because here rents are cheap.

Like Lei Ming, there is a continual flood of new immigrants trying to make a go of it in Beijing, coming into Shucun. He Yu (alias) who came a year ago, is one of those. “We are all fellow villagers from Chongqing, we rely on people we know that are already here to introduce us to employers who will hire us for temporary work.” He said, “Beijing is a place I have always yearned to come to.” But since he came here, if things go well he earns 2000 yuan a month, if not so well, 1000 yuan. Subtracting his rent, there is not enough left to pay for meals.

These migrants are not like those “waiting for demolition.” Once Shucun is demolished, it just means they will have to drift elsewhere. “We will be like duckweed floating on the sea, not knowing where the current will carry us.”

Though no one knows when Shucun will be demolished, the transformation of urban villages in Beijing is already an old topic. A 2012 article in the Beijing Daily (Beijing Ribao) on the 50 listed up villages described the hundreds of thousands migrants coming to Beijing, living their dreams in these urban villages, which the article called “a scar on the face of Beijing.”

The first move to uncover the scar began ten years ago. At that time, on the one hand the urban villages were growing bigger, and on the other hand Beijing was beginning a sustained effort to develop after succeeding in its bid for the Olympics. In preparation for the Olympics, Beijing turned toward becoming an “international city,” and this was the impetus to transform the urban villages.

According to data collected in 2002, there were 332 urban villages in Beijing, occupying 17 square kilometers, with a population of more than one million. In 2004, the movement to uncover and fix the scar began in the area designated as the Olympics zone.

The plan was to transform the 171 urban villages that were located inside the fourth ring before the Olympics. After the Olympics, Beijing would go on to deal with 61 villages located outside the fourth ring. In time, all the urban villages located inside the fifth ring disappeared. But Shucun, which is right on the line, on the edge of the fifth ring, is in an exceedingly awkward position: is it in the fifth ring, or just outside of it? Is it going to be transformed, or is nothing going to happen?The name Shucun does not appear in the list of 171 villages, nor among the 61.

Tangjialing is a typical case of an urban village which has been demolished. After it was transformed, the former residents poured into neighboring villages. Shigezhuang, Xibanbidian, Dongbanbidian — these villages gradually filled up, and turned into a new cycle of urban villages.

“The decline of rural areas and villages is being expedited. They are being rushed to adopt urban form, but it seems like one gigantic sham.” This is the opinion of scholar Liang Hong, author of the book, In China there is a Village called Liangzhuang (an account of the urbanization of Liangzhuang, a village in Henan). She believes the urban villages are only able to make superficial changes in the process toward urbanization. They just get encircled by reinforced concrete walls.

Those who are waiting in Shucun, what course should they follow?

树村 Shucun
城中村 urban village
唐家岭 Tangjialing
史各庄、西半壁店、东半壁店 Shigezhuang, Xibanbidian, Dongbanbidian –
梁鸿 Liang Hong
《中国在梁庄》 In China there is a Village called Liangzhuang


konjaku: as we see from this 2015 article, North Bajia was not demolished, and is still evoked as a symbol of electronic parts recycling in Beijing.

Uniformed soldiers [the official way] or junk kings [the unofficial way]: electronic parts recycling will take which course?

We seldom think about that happens to electronic goods after they are used up. This reporter asked twenty community residents in Chaoyang what they considered most important: the price of recycling electronics, the convenience, or environment concerns. Price was number one, followed by convenience. Few mentioned the environment.

In the 7th month of this year, Reuters published a photo of “the number one town involved in eletrconics recycling, ” Guiyu town in Shantou, Guangdong. In Guiyu they use archaic methods to dismantle electronic parts, such as burning wires and other plastics to expose the metal inside. Seeing this unfold before their eyes, people are thinking how this can be changed. An investigation by Sun Yat-sen University found that as far back as the ‘90s, the ground water in Guiyu was seriously contaminated, unfit to drink.

[konjaku: see

In Beijing we have no lack of places similar to Guiyu. Perhaps the most well known one is HouBajia. Five kilometers from Zhongguancun (Beijing’s silicone valley), just north of the intersection of Yuequan Road and Shuangqing Road. Here there is a clear distinction between the two sides of the road. On the west side there are tall residential buildings, a school and a park, both neat and tidy. On the east side of the road there is a strip of fencing several hundred meters long enclosing refuse dumps. This is HouBajia.

In 2009, China Youth Report did a report on HouBajia,. At the time, electronic recycling was flourishing. “Every family has stored up 40 to 50 thousand yuan.” Six years later the situation is not the same. Along the strip of road there are six or seven collection sites, each run by several households cooperatively. At any time there are people with pedicabs loaded with refuse going from collection site to collection site, seeking to unload their cargo.

This reporter found that there was only one specialized collection site left, belonging to the household of Liu Yue. There was a sign posted at the entrance, “Recycling computers” but it was tottering in the wind. It began to drizzle, and Liu Yue came rushing out of her household compound, and dragged an old computer and a water purifier at the entrance under a shelter out of the rain.


A pedicab stopped, and the driver tried to get Liu Yue to buy the old refrigerator he had salvaged. When she heard the price, she shook her head. She said that she is not buying anything new. Once she finishes the jobs she has on hand, she intends to stop operating.

HouBajia started as an electronics recycling site after 2000, when a group of people came here from Xinyang in Henan province. They made a living dismantling electronic goods, and inspired others around to do the same.

Liu Yue started in this line of work five years ago, taking in mainly computers and cellphones. Until 2014, business was good. After the 2015 Spring Festival, the electronics recycling market went into a precipitous decline, prices tumbled four or five times below what they were. “After celebrating the new year, I began to suffer losses, by the 6th month of the year I was down 10 to 20 thousand yuan.” She said, before it used to be easier to extract whole component parts, like disc drives, and sell these individually. But now, prices have fallen, and everything is bought by the kilogram, “just the same as plastic.”


Liu Yue said, last year there were still many recyclers operating in the village. However, when prices fell they turned to other businesses. Liu Yue does not understand how electronic recycling will continue without small venders like her. “If we stop operating, how are all the piles of electronic waste in Beijing city going to be disposed of?

In fact, there are a number of residential districts, which have already started a program for recycling objects by type, including a specific barrel in which to put electronic appliances. They have established a standard to separate and recycle newspaper, plastic, glass, metal, fabric, cans, rubber, wood, and photo-sensitive selenium in printer drums. As for other discarded electronic products, Beijing city has not yet produced standards for them, in terms of recycling or disposing.

When this reporter was interviewing community residents, a Ms Zhang said, “When I have a used appliance I want to get rid of, whether it is a washing machine, a t.v., or a refrigerator, my first choice is to sell it to a flea market, or to one of those venders who makes the rounds of streets and alleyways offering to buy used appliances. If it’s something that just can’t be sold, I leave it downstairs where the building trash bins are, in order that a refuse collector can take it away.”

Twenty-something Xiao Zhang said, what worries her most is cell phones. “The typical life of a cell phone is two years. Even if a person’s phone is still working fine, they want to keep up with the newest models. In our home, when I am done with a cell phone I can give it to my Mom or Dad, and they will use it. If a phone breaks we don’t try and sell it, it just lies around the house, since they don’t take up any space. I have one or two cell phones that have been in our house for three years.”

It seems that most people have little problem disposing of large items, but feel embarrassed about small items. Huang Ling, a college student, has sometimes to replace the litium battery to his electric scale and calculator, but his residential area does not have a designated battery disposal site. To go all over searching for a disposal box is too troublesome. After leaving them in his home for several days, he ends up putting them in the regular trash.

Unfortunately, no matter what the current market price is, people prefer to sell their used electrical appliances at the highest price they can get to peddlers or small scale recycling companies. It is difficult for legitimate recycling companies to capture a share of the market.


Shibalidian village legal case: “the government report does not exist”


The Shibalidian villagers in their statement to the town government said that they did not oppose the transformation of the village, but they wanted a number of legal conditions met.

“According to the regulations of 2003 and 2004, the authorities must strictly follow this procedure: apply for a demolition permit, make a public announcement of the demolition and resettlement plan, provide an estimate of compensation, then reach and sign an agreement with the affected parties. … The public announcement should be accompanied by the following legal documents: the demolition permit, official comments on the construction project, permit to use the land for construction, document of approval of use of state land, the demolition plan, criterion for compensation estimates, proof that the fund for demolition and resettlement has been set aside in a bank account, qualifications and certifications of the demolition company and the building estimation company, including qualifications of their employees.”

Several villagers undertook legal challenges to obtain one of the items mentioned above, the “proof that the fund for demolition and resettlement has been set aside in a bank account.”

If Beijing city had set aside funds for the demolition and relocation of Shibalidian village (since the transformation of the 50 villages is a city-wide project), finding out the amount of the fund would allow the villagers to see what rights and benefits were granted to them in regard to compensation. It would also be a step toward preventing the town government from appropriating this fund for its own purposes, while granting as little of it as possible to the villagers. There is also a possibility that, although existence of the fund is apparently a legal requirement for demolition, it simply never existed.

Theses documents show how the villagers sued the town government to gain access to information on the fund. When this step yielded no results, villagers subsequently filed suits in the Basic People’s Court (the lowest level of the judiciary).

The following is from a blog:

One aspect of the Beijing City Chaoyang District Shibalidian town Shibalidian village illegal demolition –suing the government to make public its demolition and relocation fund account record

Plantiff Guo Guijun, female, date of birth 1970-09-20, identification card number_______, address: Shibalidian village number 500, telephone number 13901243870, social status: agricultural (nongmin)

Defendant: Shibalidian town people’s government, Representative: Guo Liang, township head. Address: Shibalidian town people’s government office

The plantiff charges the defendant, as required by law, to make available a public report describing the fund set aside for demolition and relocation of the village, including proof of the bank account

Fees entailed in this lawsuit will be paid by defendant

The plantiff charges that disclosing details of the fund is an essential condition which must be met for demolition to proceed, as required under article 7 of the city demolition code, and under number 1177 of the national code (2001). Failure to make this information public is also a violation of article 9 of the government public information code. Since the defendant is concealing information on the fund, the plantiff has no recourse but to file this suit in court to determine whether or not the defendant has illegally diverted the fund. The plantiff assumes the fund exists. If it turns out there is no record of the fund, and indeed no fund at all, then without question it is illegal to go forward with demolition of the village.


konjaku: the following document is translated below:


Shibalidian District Office 2012, number 6

Notification that a Government Report [on the fund] does not exist

Guo Guijun (handwritten in the space provided):
Greetings. On 2012-04-23, we received your request to make a government report public, as shown in the “Receipt of request registration” [which was sent to you] from the Shibalidian district office.
Upon investigation, we determined you requested the following document “Proof of an account of funds for the demolition and relocation of Shibalidian village.” We have not produced the document (not produced/ not obtained/ not preserved) because the said government report does not exist.

We thank you deeply for your interest in our work.

konjaku: after this, the plaintiff filed an appeal and received this in response:




Beijing City Chaoyang District People’s Government Administrative Redress Decision

Applicant Guo Guijun claims that the Shibalidian town government has not fulfilled its legal obligation, and requests them to release its report of the fund set aside for demolition and relocation of Shibalidian village. On 2012-07-13 Guo Guijun filed for administrative redress.

The applicant states: on 2012-04-23 I filed a written request for the government report on the fund, but up to now I haven’ t received it. This infringes on my lawful rights and interests and is a violation of law. I request that the government office now support my claim of administrative redress.

Respondent [Shibalidian township government]: on 2012 -04-23 received the applicant’s submission. On 2012-05-14 the respondent issued the “Notification that the government report does not exist.” [translated above]. Therefore, the respondent has already produced an answer to the applicant’s request. On the Notification there was a mistake in the use of the seal –it was stamped “Shibalidian District Office,” instead of the “Shibalidian Town People’s Government,” but that had no effect on the content of the document. The respondent has already carried out its duty in this regard. The office in charge of investigating redress rejects this application for administrative redress.

The investigating office has found that after the applicant filed a request for administrative redress, the Shibalidian town government on 2012-10-22 issued a corrected Notification of non-existence of the report, with the proper seal. The respondent states that it will review and strengthen management practices in regard to the use of seals, to prevent such mistakes from occurring in the future.

Summary: paragraph citing the legal code to assert that the respondent, by producing a document [of the non-existence of the fund report] in answer to the applicant’s request, has fulfilled its legal obligations.

Therefore, according to article 48.1.1 of the regulations on administrative redress, the application is denied. If the applicant does not accept this decision, within 15 days the applicant can file an administrative suit with the People’s Court.

konjaku: another villager filed the same suit and received a different response:

Plantiff Xie Yuling does not accept the Shibalidian town government actions regarding the release of information to the public, and filed a suit in the People’s Court. The Court agreed to hear the case, and assembled a panel of judges.

The suit of the plantiff states, that the plantiff on 2012-04-23 made a written request to obtain the administrative report, “Beijing City Chaoyang District Shibalidian town Shibalidian village demolition and relocation fund distribution and use.” On 2012-05-14 the defendant only received a notification from the Shibalidian District Office stating that the report in question had already been issued. However, the defendant has not seen that this report was released to the public. The plantiff considers that this notification is itself illegal, since it has no factual basis and violates the stipulations of the code on government public disclosure. Therefore, the plantiff appeals to the court to 1) revoke the notification stating that the government report has already been released, 2) demand that the government issue a public report according to the facts, detailing the fund set aside for demolition and relocation of Shibalidian village.

This court considers that, before hearing a suit concerning administrative actions, it must first determine whether this case falls within the legal parameters of such suits. Since the creation of the green zone and the various actions attendant upon it are a matter of policy adjustment, these actions do not fall within the category of possible suits over administrative actions. Therefore the court finds no legal basis to bring a suit, as the plantiff’s suit does not fall within the definition of suits against administrative actions, as detailed in the Supreme People’s Court ruling 44.1.11. Therefore:
The Court rejects Xie Yuling’s suit
The cost to hear and try the case was 50 yuan, within 15 days this sum will be delivered to Xie Yuling.
If the plantiff does not accept this decision, within 10 days they can appeal to a higher court, the Beijing Third Intermediate People’s Court.

suit concerning administrative actions 行政诉讼
policy adjustment 政策调整

konjaku: the demolition of the 50 villages as part of the urban rural unification project is here referred to simply as the “creation of the green zone.” Since this is a “policy adjustment” the opinion here is that it is outside the definition of government actions that can be subject to legal challenges in the forms of suits or appeals from the people. However since the plaintiff does not have to pay the court costs, they might be encouraged to appeal to a higher level.


Village #9 Shibalidian: “the land it sits on is like gold”

konjaku: village # 9 is Shibalidian village. The larger town which has administrative authority over the village has the same name, Shibalidian town.

Shibalidian village十八里店村
Chaoyang district Shibalidian town 朝阳区十八里店乡

In accounts of the demolition of villages and the relocation of residents, only certain stages of the process receive coverage. In the case of Shibalidian village, we have

1) demolition announced, spontaneous protest, dialogue with town leaders (2011-09)
2) eminent domain hold-outs and use of force against them (2012-03)
3) demolition proceeds, protests in tandem with the 18th National Congress, persons arrested for grave robbing in village (2012-11)
4) replacement housing construction completed (2016-01)

There is nothing between the end of 2012 and 2016, during which presumably the last resisting households were removed, the village was completely demolished, and the villagers dispersed in temporary quarters until the replacement housing was completed. During this period of about three years, the flashpoints of protest and conflict are replaced by smaller, more incremental events, marked perhaps by resignation, about which there is less impetus to call attention to or to narrate.

1) When the town government made its initial announcement 2011-09, the villagers apparently erupted in spontaneous protest. By 2011, the villagers have become quite aware of new regulations formulated on city or state level, guaranteeing them a say in the process, and requiring their consent. They protest that the local town government is not following the process required by law.

taken from two blogs:

Beijing’s “highest” compensation rate for demolition occurs at Shibalidian village! Dogs [the town leaders] are all laughing [at us]

Shibalidian village is located in the SE fourth ring, on the village periphery commercial market priced housing goes for 25,000 yuan per square meter. Because Shibalidian village is a listed up village, it is now faced with demolition, and the land it sits on is like gold. But the Shibalidian town government is offering the common people who live in it 2300 yuan per square meter in compensation!

2) The villagers are all extremely angry. but after several days had passed the town government had managed to use various tricks, subterfuges, and police force to keep all the villagers’ appeals from coming to naught. It is said they planned to make huge profits on the land after forcible demolitions.

2) 2011-09-24, the administration handed down a two page demolition notice with few things spelled out. There was nothing whatsoever about rules regarding demolition, there was no explanation whatsoever about replacement housing, just a minimal amount of explanation, a charade. The whole village, consisting of more than ten production teams, 8000 residents, immediately erupted in anger. In history there has never been such a spontaneous organized protest arising in reaction to a demolition, but in Shibaidian there was one.

2) Key points:
1)There is no regular legal procedure, the villgers are not given any detailed rules and regulations associated with the demolition, they were just forcibly marched off to have their houses measured (to determine compensation amounts) –the point of most rancor

2) After their houses were measured they were given the demolition rules and regulations, but upon looking at it the first villagers were scared to death. Only 2300 yuan per square meter in compensation! Subsequent to that, villagers refused to have their houses measured.

3) the town administration did not use the new legal requirements for demolition put out in 2009, they used the old 2002 edition of regulations to mislead people. The money these call for is small, because it is based on old assessments. Any fool knows land prices aren’t what they were in 2002! It is necessary to use the new edition!

4) Early on it was expressly stated that Shibalidian was extremely important, as one of the Beijing 50 listed up villages. The city administration has a prescribed compensation amount for the 50 listed up villages, but the document from the town had not a word about it, instead they offered us pennies!

5.) The area to be demolished is zoned for commerce, but the demolition rules say it is going to be part of the green zone. This is another subterfuge to lower compensation amounts. The rate is shaved by one half!

6) Shibalidian is one of the 50 listed up villages slated to be transformed. Ground breaking has already occurred, but the government’s rate of progress is slow, they have already procrastinated several years. The villagers look around at the compensation rates given to nearby villages, and see that theirs is the lowest. Yet, Shibalidian is called an “important” [part of the city plan for urban transformation].

7 the town has budgeted 300 million yuan for the project, which is already low, but on top of that, the village head Kai Baoma (a woman) has boasted that she will only have to use 100 million to take care of the villagers. This sort of exploitive mentality is the worst, causing the villagers to go crazy.

8. for four days there were spontaneous discussions and protests, which the police eventually suppressed. It is said an old person was beaten to death by the police yesterday.

9. The town government network of control is immense. Our appeals to higher levels of government disappear without a trace. Injustice on such a scale no one is brave enough to take on. Reporters dare not come, for fear they cannot conceal themselves.

This event is occurring right now. Everyday several thousand households are arguing their cases, any hour, any moment, one can see the villagers making their complaints everywhere they can!

Simply, this is seizing the villagers homes by force. Beijing’s empty lots are valuable, but demolishing the structures on them to free them for development, should proceed with equality and mutual benefit. The common people have not seen this low price in any public, official document. In this confusion, so they want to demolish? 2300 yuan for demolition, 2800/3900 to buy the replacement housing, which the people have to pay for, then wait three years for new housing.Move out of their homes, and their new homes not ready? What kind of a bullshit policy is this?

Is it not just polity and Heavens Law to improve the livelihood of the people, but how does this type of governing by the local town administration do anything for the people?

In Shibalidian village there are many greedy officials. Several years ago when a light rail project took over village and town land, these officials scooped up the money which was compensation for the common people, and used it to build themselves an administrative building, said to be the grandest government building in all Chaoyang district. From inside this building there are coffins [see note] in which the bureaucrats shield each other, and fool the public. For the Shibalidian village demolition they did not hold a village assembly, nor did they make the terms public, they just said they would measure all the buildings and give estimates. The people were dumbfounded. Some one hundred of them spontaneously organized to go to the town administration and question thoroughly this matter. However, they were obstructed from their purpose by an overbearing public security force, even to the point of being dragged away. Women and old people were beaten with fists. May we ask, do not the coffins inside their grand buildings provide enough protection, that they must raise their hands against the people? Some of the people heard the current Party Secretary say to them, “I am the law.” What an arrogant assertion! What an overlording attitude! Where then should the people appeal? In today’s society, there is a radical separation between officials and the people, the more enmity between social levels occurs, the deeper it becomes. The officials have forgotten that they themselves come from the common people, they have forgotten their roots. This kind of official is of no use, they can only bring disaster on the common people and calamity to the country. How sad it is!

Note: the word for coffin, guancai 棺材, suggests two other characters with the same possible pronunciation “bureaucratic wealth” guancai 官财, an occasional pun. Otherwise I do not understand what is meant here.

konjaku: the following is from another blog, which collects the documents of protest the villagers gave to the town leadership. I have translated only the first document of several, and I left out some of the specific citations and quotations of regulations in the document. Next, I translate a series of written questions and answers between the villagers and town secretary, which apparently took place over several days. It is interesting to note the specific demands within the questions, and the rather vague, non-responsive answers, although the Secretary readily admits they may have made some mistakes.

Town leaders refuse to sign to acknowledge receipt of the villagers’ protest documents, therefore the villagers have no choice but to shake hands with the town government leader and depart


1 With mounting public indignation, the villagers came to the town government offices, to get a response to the condition of the people and the popular will, but they were not allowed to go in through the entrance gate


2. police, plainclothes officers, the director of handing complaints, and the discipline commission secretary, all came out to have a look at the growing crowd in battle array


3. The villagers were unable to get an audience with a leader, the only thing they could do was hoist their banner, “Boycott illegal demolitions.”


4 The Ministry of Public Security forbids police from getting involved in demolition matters, however, here the police took away the villagers’ banner by force. An old man expressed to the police that they could see how little support the demolition policy had among the villagers.



5. Villagers gave their documents protesting illegal demolition to a presentative of the town people’s conference, requesting from the congress leader a signature of receipt of the documents. However, the leader refuses to sign.

To whom it may concern:

We are the villagers of Shibalidian village, in Chaoyang district Shibalidian town one of the 50 listed up villages. and we would like to report to you about the illegal demolition issue which the town government initiated on 2011-09-25.

1)We have lived in Shibalidian village for generations, and we heartily endorse the city plan. We support the transformation of the village. At present the village is dirty and disordered, the environment and public security are grim. Economic development has fallen behind. In order to improve the environment and quality of peoples’ lives, we support the ongoing project to remake the village. But in the demolition process, which has already started, there are gross illegalities, which we want to detail in a full report.

According to the regulations of 2003 and 2004, the authorities must strictly follow this procedure: apply for a demolition permit, make a public announcement of the demolition and resettlement plan,, provide an estimate of compensation, then reach and sign an agreement with the affected parties. In particular, the regulations state that the administration must hold public hearings regarding the compensation estimates, they must also hold public hearings and adjudicate before any forcible demolitions. The public announcement should be accompanied by the following legal documents: the demolition permit, official comments on the construction project, permit to use the land for construction, document of approval of use of state land, the demolition plan, criterion for compensation estimates, proof that the fund for demolition and resettlement has been set aside in a bank account, qualifications and certifications of the demolition company and the building estimation company, including qualifications of their employees. But in this case, there has been no public announcement whatsoever, no attempt to follow any of the regulations described above. Therefore we believe the town government in undertaking the demolition, is in direct violation of the law.

2) The town administration has not held a hearing to solicit the villagers’ opinions, as prescribed by regulations as required when the government levies land. They have not publicly announced any details of the plan and procedure they intend to follow in the demolition and resettlement of the village. They have not convened an assembly to discuss the plan and have it affirmed. The matter has only passed through the town congress, which is not the body which represents the rights and interests of the villagers. The villagers’ rights to counsel, their democratic right to have representatives who do not stand to profit, to participate in the discussion and the making of the policy, have been violated. Specifically, it violates article 24, sections 6 and 7 of the Organic Law of Village Committees, that in matters of levying land and determining compensation, these will be decided through a village meeting. I believe the actions of the town administration, an operation hidden from plain view, violate the rights of the villagers.

konjaku: abridge rest of document. It ends with an appeal for the Central Committee of Discpline Inspection to get involved in the matter of the demolition of Shibalidian village, “in order to uphold social stability and unity.”

On 09-30 the village representatives met with the Shibalidian town government complaints office, and submitted the following questions. The office sent back answers to the questions in written form.
1) We request that the city government redress the legal violations carried out by the Shibalidian town administration in regards to the demolition of Shibalidian village.

Shibalidian town Secretary Liu Taiping: previously this project involved Zhouzhuang village and Shibalidian village. The town CP committee definitely met with representatives from both villages, however the next step is for all the village representatives under the town administration to meet. Of course, the representatives of these two villages will also participate. At this larger meeting, the matter in question will be decided by the majority.

Question: in the question of demolition and compensation, which is of huge significance to the villagers, why has not a meeting of all the villagers been called, for all the villagers to discuss and decide the matter? We assert that the town assembly made decisions without any participation by Shibalidian village representatives.

Secretary Liu Taiping: In Chaoyang the urban transformation project was started simultaneously in three towns: Xiaohongmen in the south (Longzhaoshu village), Wangsiying in the north (Guanzhung village), and our town. In a broader sense, it was Liu Qi who two years ago determined the whole 50 listed up villages project.

Question: since the transformation of Shibalidian village is listed as one of the Beijing city priority projects of 2011, Beijing city must have set aside funds to subsidize it. Please explain to us what the Beijing city fund sets as the compensation amount per square meter. Please produce for us the documentation from Beijing city detailing the amount of the fund, or the bankbook of the subsidy account showing the amount.

Secretary Liu Taiping: Because this demolition project is according to the city and district, the town head and town secretary have nothing to do with the money involved.

Question: please submit in written form the legal regulations behind this demolition, and all the certified government documents.
Secretary Liu Taiping: We really have taken into consideration the interests of the common people in our implementation of this project, but it is possible that there are some people who find some matters to be not clear. It is possible in the early stage of the project we did not go into detail. If we had explained in more detail, it is possible the people would not feel as they do now. We admit we made mistakes in the early stage of the project, this point we cannot deny.

Question: please explain in written form what these mistakes were, including whether or not you violated any of the state laws. If you did not violate any laws, please explain step by step the legal basis for the demolition project, giving the relevant articles and clauses.

Secretary Liu Taiping: this matter has been pushed forward by larger entities. It is only natural that you come to us with your concerns. The town CP committee and administration must consider this question. Probably our thinking on this matter has not been attentive enough, nor has it been comprehensive enough, and has gone in a different direction from your interests.

Question: please explain how this lack of attention to our interests can be remedied. Give a realistic solution as to how the legal rights of the Shibalidian villagers will be safeguarded.

Secretary Liu Taiping: look at Baiqiangszi [a residential community in Chaoyang]. In 1996 it belonged to the class of land levied by the state, but it took 15 years before the residents moved to better housing, and that land became part of the green zone. At the time this was the “first land opened to development.”

Question: if it took 15 years, what was the policy of the state during all that time? How much was allocated for the project? Where was the money spent? If the Baiqiangzi patch of land was allocated to the green zone, how did this spread to Shibalidian village? On what legal basis? Please provide the evidence in written form.

Secretary Liu Taiping: it must have been like this: since you built commercial properties and sold those around that time, we thought our villagers should also move up to better housing [first by having their village demolished]. At that time net costs were high and the buildings sold cheaply, not like today when building costs are high.

Question: please provide in written form how much the village land will sell for after the village has been demolished, by the square meter.

Secretary Liu Taiping: the 50 listed up villages is a city project. After the village is demolished, development of the land will occur under the Bopai Sea General Economic Zone. When that time comes, there will definitely be a large scale project.

Question: if there is going to be a large scale development, why is it said that the village is being demolished for the sake of the green zone? Is this legal? Doesn’t this violate the Beijing city regulations for constructing the green zone? Will Shibalidian villagers eventually receive a share of the profits of the large scale development?

Secretary Liu Taiping: in the village there are over 8000 residents, 1680 households. This is far far larger than any project we have undertaken before.

Question: if this has been such a large project directly affecting the livelihoods of so many people, why hasn’t there been any public announcement, Why have you not sought the opinions of those masses of people affected? Is this not a violation of the three forms of fairness (to be impartial, to be just, to be open)

Secretary Liu Taiping: Beijing city and Chaoyang district have many legal statutes in place. If we do something wrong, we can change it. This is not to say we will just change anything, it has to be something which is incompatible with the city and district.

Question: at present there are many people who are dissatisfied.How will the town government work to improve their state of affairs?If the town follows the instructions of the city and district, what will it do if these instructions conflict with national policy? How will the town ensure that each step in the process is actualized?

Secretary Liu Taiping : This is the blue handbook, I don’t know how many of you have a copy. The group answered, we do not have it. Secretary Liu Taiping said, this is a mistake we made at an earlier stage. We should have given everyone a blue book when we sent out the notice. There are two work units that have not even received the notice, and they still don’t have it. Those groups joined to form one committee [to protest], this is something the town government didn’t consider.

Question: does this blue book lay out clearly and in detail the regulations regarding demolition? If it is regarded as laying out the guidelines for the demolition process, why were there no public announcements, no soliciting of the peoples’ opinions, no assembly in which all the villagers decided the matter by vote?

konjaku: in 2015 Liu Taiping was issued a “party warning” for holding an overly lavish wedding banquet for his son, with a total of 48 tables, spending 331,500 yuan

konjaku: now we turn to 2012 six months later. Demolition of the village is in progress.

In Shibalidian, many home businesses are repeatedly attacked

Source: Jinghua Times

On 03-23, the doors and windows of many home businesses in Shiblian village were smashed. Eyewitnesses stated that those persons who perpetrated the attacks were riding in vans belonging to the village joint defense patrol group. Because of the dispute over compensation amounts, some ten home businesses have had their water and electricity cut off for two months. These have been repeatedly attacked, while other businesses have had portions of their premises forcibly dismantled.

One business attacked on 03-23 was a pharmacy. The proprietor, Mr Dong said that Ms Liao who ran a hair salon next door, was a witness. She told him that at 3 o’clock in the morning, three men got out of a van and used brick fragments and iron clubs to smash the front of his store. Afterwards they jumped back in the van, which had no license plates, but the patrol insignia painted on the side. It was a village joint defense patrol van.

In addition to the pharmacy and hair salon a Jingkelong supermarket was also targeted. In front of these businesses, this reporter found that a trench about 2 feet deep had been dug. On 02-10, a crowd of village faction members had piled up dirt, sealing off the entrances to the stores, but the proprietors had afterwards removed the dirt and cleared the road. After this the village committee sent workers to dig the ditch.

As an example of forcible dismantling, Mr Xu, the proprietor of a glass factory, said that 03-19, his workers were herded out of the premises by village joint defense personnel, who proceeded to demolish the front gate of the factory and tear off the roof.

Jingkelong Supermarket manager Ms Pang said that since the incidents of harassment ( sealing off the entrance with dirt and digging the ditch) the daily volume of sales has decreased from 15,000 yuan to about 3000 yuan. The store has no choice but to reduce their stock by one half. Mr Sun, proprietor of a tea factory, said that on 02-10, the main entrance of his factory was dismantled. After that thieves entered the unprotected building, and he had losses of more than 200,000 yuan.

The victims say that these incidents are connected to the demolition of Shibalidian village. Since the time when the village was scheduled to be demolished, the majority of the villagers have vacated, but the compensation issue has not been resolved through negotiation. Therefore some businesses have not moved away, and those that have remained have been subjected to continuous attacks. Many businesses said the compensation rates offered by Shibalidian town are very arbitrary, varying from 20 to 500 yuan per square meter, which made them feel they had no choice but to decline the offers. After two months, the harassment began. Their water and electricity was cut off. To ensure that their buildings would not be torn down, the business owners resolved to stay on their premises, 24 hours a day. “Every night the slightest sound woke us up, and we would get out of bed to investigate.” Mr Dong of the pharmacy said their preparations included a wooden club one meter long, for protection.

Yesterday afternoon this reporter telephoned the village chairman Wang Baozong. He claimed he knew nothing,and saying he was in a hurry as he had to go somewhere by car, he quickly terminated the conversation. The glass factory proprietor Mr Xu said he had phoned the police sub-station many times, “after more than ten phone calls they finally come out, but they say they are too busy with demolition issues to deal with my problem, and that I should file a complaint with the court.”

About these attacks on businesses, the Shibalidian police sub-station has nothing to say.

Authors: Wang Mei, Gong Mian.

konjaku: 2012-11, eight months later, a blog has photos of a protest sign put up in the village addressed to delegates of the Eighteenth National Peoples Congress. Photos detail the damage being done to the village, in the form of heaping up earth in front of stores and digging ditches, as described in the previous article.

Protest sign:
We warmly congratulate delegates to the 18th National Congress! Take notice of Beijing’s BLACK demolition. Stopping water, cutting off electricity, with masked faces threatening, brandishing swords and twirling sticks, defying laws human and divine! The demolition and relocation process is not public or transparent, the compensation price fools superiors and defrauds subordinates. …Those in sympathy please inform the media


photo below is of the Jingkelong Supermarket referred to in the previous article


digging ditches and piling up earth to isolate the village and make going to and fro difficult


konjaku: as demolition proceeds and people move away, the neglected village site may provide openings for criminal activity.

Demolition of Shibalidian village provides the inspiration for thieves to rob graves


When the demolition of Shibalidian village was in progress, several grave robbers took advantage of the situation to excavate three tombs, and made off with a large quantity of Qing dynasty artifacts. Yesterday morning, the gang went on trial in Chaoyang district court.

Han Fei, Zhao Xianhai, Zhao Yunyin are all peasants from Funan County Anhui province. For some time they have been laborers in the capital. Since the beginning of last year, when large scale demolition began in Shibalidian village, the three heard villagers talking about the old tombs in the village area. The existence of the tombs also surfaced in media reports. Once they decided to rob the tombs, in order to make the job easier, they colluded with Laojuntang village defence force member Liu Biao, At night they began searching the old tombs for material objects buried inside.

According to the accusation brought against them, from the 12th month of last year to the third month of this year, Han Fei and four other persons excavated a huge quantity of gold and silver hair clasps, jade and silver bracelets, and antique money from three tombs at construction sites in Shibalidian village.

After they were apprehended by Public Security, the Beijing Cultural Relics Research office ascertained that the objects they had stolen dated from the Qing dynasty, and had scientific and culture value. The police have recovered all of the stolen objects.

In court Han Fei and the others admitted their guilt. They testified that in the 9th month of last year, they happened to bump into each other. Having no good means of earning a living, they hit upon the idea to rob some old tombs. Just around that time they became aware of the opportunity offered by the large scale demolition of Shibalidian village.

They testified that there was nothing advanced about their methods. They used shovels, pickaxes, trowels, and dental probes. They started by probing in holes others had already excavated, and by chance found a relatively undisturbed plot of ground, which they excavated with shovels. The whole process was very smooth, it was nothing like the plot twists of suspense novels involving tomb robbing. The goods they acquired without much effort they sold to dealers, and each made more than 10,000 yuan.

Within the gang, Laojuntang village defence force member Liu Biao served as the look out. He explained that he stood sentry as the others worked. Thanks to his special status, whenever a person walked by, he either did not let them linger and do anything, or if they suspected something, he told them not to report it to the police. “I am a local person, I know this place very well, if they find anything, I’ll take care of it.”

As of yesterday, the court has not yet pronounced judgement.

konjaku: now we turn to the replacement housing.

Shibalidian –more than 2500 households of villagers will move to new housing


At the beginning of 2015, the entire population of Shibalidian village of over 10,000 residents will be relocated to new residences in the Zhouzhuang 2nd Stage and Third Stage development. The village team, working energetically, has outstripped the plan and brought in a large scale comprehensive hospital in two branches, enabling all residents in the surrounding area to be able to see a doctor.

Shibalidian is one of the 50 listed up villages in the urban rural unification project. 2011-09, the work of demolition and relocation began. 2012-03, construction on the Zhouzhuang Third Stage (residential complex) officially began. Zhouzhuang Third Stage is in Shibalidian town. Total land area is 230,000 square meters, the total building space will be 930,000 square meters. It will be divided into three sections: A,B,and C. It will be oriented on a north south directional flow, the whole complex constructed with natural building surfaces, comprising altogether 7800 residences.

konjaku: rendering of the Zhouzhang Third Stage


photo of the completed project 2016



konjaku: from a blog:

They are mounting intense publicity for Zhouzhuang Third stage, but about Shibalidian village they couldn’t care less

In order to ensure that the Shibalidian villagers move into the Zhouzhuang Third stage replacement housing at the appointed time, the nail houses (protesters resisting eminent domain) have all been removed. The local government was unable to forcibly demolish their residences. However there was a village self-government organization that was able to proceed, under the name of “assisted demolition.”

Blog comment: “Assisted demolition?” This so-called “assisted demolition” is just forcible demolition in a disguised form!

Village #8 Longzhaoshu “we appeal to the city”

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!
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:



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

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:

“ 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


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.



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.


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.


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.


image: Chenghousi station


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).


image: ad for Nestle water

Village #7,Guanzhuang : “assisted demolition”

konjaku: Village#7 is Guanzhuang

官庄村 Guanzhuang village
朝阳区王四营乡 Chaoyang district Wangsiying town

Beijing Chaoyang District coordinates its plan to renovate the “focal point” villages –demolishing non-conforming buildings comprising over 260,000 square meters

2011-12-06 Source: Beijing Fire Services Unit Chaoyang Detachment

Chaoyang District Wangsiying town Guanzhuang village has been designated by the city in 2011 as a public security problem focal point village. The large migrant population, and many privately constructed non-confirming buildings, constitute an outstanding fire hazard. To deal with the problem in a practical and more dynamic way, Wangsiying will demolish 260,000 square meters of pre-fab and non-conforming buildings, clearing out a large batch of fire traps which represent a hidden danger.

As a first step, Wangsiying surveyed and investigated Guanzhuang village. It found there were 1054 permanent resident households, with 1939 people. There were 24,980 members of the floating population, in 3690 rented rooms, in 801 houses. There were many shoddy privately built additions to houses, sub-letted construction projects. If a fire broke out, and the fire trucks couldn’t get through the streets cramped with new construction, the result is frightening to contemplate.

In the whole township an extensive survey has found there are more than 342 non-conforming buildings and pre-fab structures, a total of 560,000 square meters. The township government plans to issue notices to have residents and tenants do the demolition themselves. For those who refuse, demolition will be done by a specialized group.

konjaku: this 2011 article details developments before the demolition of Guanzhuang village. The following story, also from 2011, refers to the fate of one household which was in the way of a road widening project, as the photos below show. The project to demolish Guanzhuang village as a whole apparently dates from 2013.

Beijing Guanzhuang village demolition is carried out –the most stubborn “nail house” hold-outs have their home forcibly demolished, and their compensation is uncertain

2011-08-13, yesterday morning at 8:30, personnel from the Chaoyang District Court came down Chaoyang road and forcibly demolished the three room one story home of Mrs Meng, who had resisted for more than two years. While this was going on, the elderly Mrs Meng and her husband were forcibly transported to the hospital. Then they were settled in a one room 15 square meter home in Wangshiyingxiang town [in Chaoyang]. As of last night, both sides had not reached an agreement on compensation.

The District Court stated that because the Meng household had not carried out their duty to vacate the premises before the appointed deadline, the Chaoyang Housing Administration had applied to the Court for a forcible demolition order. The Court granted the order, permitting the forcible demolition of the home. A person involved in construction of Chaoyang Road said that having the area demolished cleared the way for paving the road surface. They are hoping to open the completed road to traffic by the middle of the 9th month.

According to eyewitnesses, at 8:30 yesterday morning , several cars painted with the insignia of the Court, and several ambulances pulled up in front of the Meng’s house. Twenty or thirty Court personnel entered the house. A few minutes later, the Mengs were brought out and put into the ambulance, which then left the scene.

After that, several workers dressed in everyday clothes entered the house with boxes and bags. They brought out the furniture, and boxes of miscelleaneous items, and loaded them into a van.

Shortly after 9, several forklifts and other heavy construction vehicles surrounded the house and the backyard, and pushed over the Meng’s house.

At 11, there was one forklift still working, at the scene, and several people were in the ruins of the house, collecting and organizing the rubble.

Apparently at the beginning of the year the Chaoyang Housing Department issued an order for the Mengs to vacate, which they refused to do. On 06-20, the Court granted permission to forcibly demolish the house. The Court considered this case to be clear-cut, the permission granted was according to the appropriate legal stipulations.

Sometime after 11 AM, this reporter went to the Chaoyang Number 2 Hospital. At the entrance to the outpatient department a number of Court personnel were milling around. When a doctor came out of that department, he spoke to this reporter, and said the Mengs were fine, although emotionally agitated.
Around noon, the Meng’s second daughter Ms Li hurried in, and attempted to push her way through the outpatient department entrance to see her parents. The Court personnel restrained her, and eventually she was shut up in a police van.

At 1PM, the Mengs were taken from the hospital, and put in an ambulance. With a police van leading the way, they were driven to Wangshiyingxiang town. There they were placed in an room on the first floor of a three story building. This reporter noticed that the majority of other residents of the building were migrant workers.

At 3 PM the Court personnel departed. This reporter entered the room which the Court had provided for the Mengs. The room was 15 meters square. It contained a double bed, a wardrobe and other furniture. The Mengs belongings were piled on the floor. Mrs Meng had not entered the room. She said, she was in a wheelchair, and the threshold to the room was too high for her to manage. There was nothing she could do but wait out in the corridor.

The 65 year old Mrs Meng said, when she was 34, while she was helping to construct public housing, she fell from a high place. Both her legs were shattered with multiple fractures, also her lumbar vertebrae was fractured. After that she was unable to use her legs and had to be in a wheelchair. Because it was an injury suffered on the job, she received monthly payments for medical expenses. They also rented out the area in front of their house as a storefront. With these sources of income, they managed to make ends meet. This year, just before the Spring Festival, her husband slipped on the ice and fractured his leg in free places, limiting the couple’s mobility.

Mrs Meng said, 20 years ago they rebuilt their house to make a three room store in the front. Every month they received about 6000 yuan in rent from this, and also a pension of about 1000 yuan a month. The couple have two daughters, and they think about how they can leave them with a little money.

Mrs Meng said, that in negotiations with the Court, she proposed a compensation amount of 10 million yuan (approximately 1.5 million dollars), and a three room residence of 140 square meters in Xinglong Homeland [a large scale residential complex]. Because Xinglong Homeland “was further from the hospital” she required an additional 2 or 3000 yuan a month. In response, the Court negotiators had said they could provide on a temporary basis a two room residence in Xinglong Homeland. At this point, the negotiations stalled. Mrs Meng said she had been holding firm on her demands for more than two years.

In 2005-03, the Beijing city government began the project to expand Chaoyang road. In 2007, the second phase began. But because of what city residents call “an internal obstruction” the project could not be competed, because the Meng’s house stood in the way. Because they could not agreement on the compensation settlement, the Mengs stood firm and would not leave their house.

Yesterday evening a Chaoyang road project manager said, the progress of demolishing homes necessary to build the road has been slow. Now they can begin right away, both with putting in underground pipes and refurbishing the road surface. By the 9th month the road should be open to traffic, and by the end of this year the project will be completed.

Mrs Meng asked, why is that, even though we were not sick, we were trussed in stretchers and taken to the hospital? She said yesterday morning, as she and her husband Mr Li were resting at home, court personnel burst in and told them the building was unsafe, and needed repairs. Soon after, they were told “in order to discuss a land swap” it was necessary for them to come outside. “We saw right away that something was wrong, and refused. That’s when they put me into a stretcher, bound me with straps, and carried me into the ambulance.” Mr Li said the court personnel took him by both arms and put him by force into a different ambulance. When they reached the hospital, they were taken to a room in the outpatient wing, and guarded by many court personnel. They asked why they were in the hospital even though they were not sick, but were never given a clear answer.

A court personnel member said the two had not been bound. They had simply been sent to the hospital to been seen by a doctor, since their health was not good.

Mr Li said that during negotiations they were promised that they would receive advance warning before their house was demolished, but the event came completely without warning.

A court personnel member replied that Li had been personally informed that, since he was not complying with the condition [to vacate] that they needed to proceed with the demolition, there was no need to inform them in advance.

This reporter has seen the written announcement made by the court. It orders Mr Li to vacate the couple’s home and store within three days of the notice. If they do not comply, their property will be forcibly demolished and they will bear all responsibilities for their losses. The date the notice was issued was 06-22 [about 2 months prior].

Yesterday, a citizen wrote about this incident on Weibo. Many netizens expressed their support for the forcible demolition. According to them, Chaoyang Road has for several years been blocked, all because of this one “nail-house,” “demolishing the house was a good thing, it benefits all of us.”

One wrote, every time he drives around there, at the point where three lanes turns into two, traffic is seriously impeded, especially at peak times.

Several netizens believed Ms Meng waited too long, and should have come to an understanding earlier.





konjaku: now we turn to Guanzhuang village in 2013.

Not having yet seen a compensation plan, negotiations continue while businesses are already demolished

20 years ago, in order to attract business to undeveloped land, factories, storerooms, supermarkets were built and rented out –over 100 properties in all. These businesses which now find themselves well established and reaping the benefits of years in operation, are faced with demolition. The other day, in Chaoyang district, Wangsiying town, Guanzhuang village, these several hundred businesses found they have to move out.

These businesses raise a challenge. Except for one piece of paper, the demolition anouncement, up to now they have not seen an official assessment report, or a compensation plan. A week ago the village committee posted a notice of forcible demolition, and since then some businesses have been demolished, before dawn.

A Guanzhuang villager stated that besides these many businesses, there are some 10,000 villagers in the village. The land which the businesses and village homes occupy, was leased to the Dazhuanwan corporation by the village committee, with the option to sublease. 20 years ago when the contract was signed, the Dazhuanwan corporation subleased to developers who built up the empty lots of undeveloped land. As one developer said, as much as 10 million yuan was invested.

“Not many years after businesses moved in and started doing well, the village committee began requisitioning the land to demolish. The businesses lost big.” So said Ms Meng, their representative. She said they pin their hopes on compensation. According to their lease contract, if they are are subject to requisition of the land by the state or a readjustment of government policy, those who constructed buildings are entitled to compensation for the buildings, and tenants are to be compensated for their possessions. This involves some 40 large scale tenants, and several hundred small businesses.

Some of the business persons involved stated that the Wangsiying town Removal Committee just posted the demolition notice in the 6th month, “after that no government department has done anything whatsoever concerning a compensation plan.”

“We looked up the Beijing city legal stipulations for removal and demolition.” The business persons said. Besides posting the demolition notice, the government department concerned had to obtain a demolition permit, it had to carry out a special assessment of the values of the properties in question, publish a public notice both of the assessment and the compensation plan. Then, after consultation with the affected parties to resolve any disagreements, only then can the demolition proceed.
The business persons said that concerning compensation, they have only had an oral briefing from the Dazhuanwan corporation head Liu Shaogang, who told them they would be getting five to six hundred yuan per square meter, far below the compensation standard. Mrs Meng and the others said they have heard the non-rental businesses [businesses owned by village residents] managed by the Dazhuanwan corporation are getting 1200 yuan or more per square meter.

On 10-10, the Guanzhuang village committee put up a notice which said the businesses had until 10-16 to vacate, at which point forcible demolition would proceed. [date of this article is 10-18] Mrs Meng and the others stated that several days ago at 3 or 4 in the morning, some buildings had already been demolished. “More than one hundred people came. They started demolishing right away. Some were holding shields. They made us scared.”

“If they are going to forcibly demolish our businesses, shouldn’t they follow the law and apply for a court order? How can the village committee just demolish whatever they want?”

Dazhuanwan corporation head Liu Shaogang said, “We have not seen any written property assessment or compensation plan. We were orally informed by the village and township government that five to six hundred yuan per square meter was going to be the compensation standard, and we passed that on to the businesses.”

In response, a Wangsiyingxiang government representative stated, “This is a focal point village that is part of the urban transformation project. It does not involve levying the land and having the villagers move elsewhere. There are over 10,000 villagers, who by the 10th month of next year will all have moved one after another into their new residences, which will be built right here.”

He said the compensation has been determined strictly according to the law. The government took bids and hired a specialist assessment corporation. The auditing unit has kept as close eye on the process. For the brick and wood homes of the residents, the standard is 1200 yuan per square meter. As for the businesses that were demolished, it is because they were non-conforming [illegal] buildings. Their compensation will definitely be much less.

Regarding Liu Shaogang’s statement that “We have not seen any written property assessment or compensation plan,” Wangsiying town administrative director Zhang said, he does not know why Liu is saying this, since the assessment report and compensation standard were sent to the corporation. “Perhaps he is not the head of the corporation,” Zhang speculated. “In any case, this is a dispute between the corporation and its tenants –it is no concern of the government.” He suggested the businesses use legal channels to file a complaint.

As for the forcible demolitions, Zhang said, these are not forcible demolitions, they are assisted demolitions. In his interpretation, “assisted demolitions” refers to this: the village committee passed a motion to find people to “help” the businesses with the demolition of their property. “If the villagers assist with this, the progress of demolition and construction of new housing here goes faster, therefore they have a motive to ‘assist.’ This matter is unrelated to the government.”

He further said, if the businesses are still unable to resolve the dispute through negotiation, it may be necessary to continue to resort to the “assisted demolitions” policy.

konjaku: Zhang is apparently saying the villagers are in support of the plan to move into a new residential project to be built on the village site ( See Guanzhuang New Village, below). Therefore they are willing to “assist” in the demolition of buildings within the village site. The government feels it can sit back and let this conflict of interests between villagers and tenants play out. Demolition may become the object of protests, but “assisted demolition” is harder to oppose. However, as we will see, when villagers protested their compensation amounts, the term “assisted demolition” was used against them.

帮拆 assisted demolition. This does not appear to be a term in general use, as a google search does not turn up anything.

from a blog:

Guanzhuang village is in the vicinity of Dajiaoting (a subway station on line #7). In the near future it will be demolished, but the conditions are not equitable. It is situated outside the 4th ring, inside the 5th ring, the #7 subway line is in the process of being renovated there. The price of land in that area is not likely to be low. But the demolition corporation is pressing through at 2700 yuan per square meter. This price is below the value of ten years ago! Worse than that, then they have to buy their new housing at 3300 yuan per square meter!! The notice regarding the demolition has many stipulations directed at the villagers, and if they violate any of them they will receive this punishment or that punishment. But there are no stipulations regarding the conduct of the demolition units, so they can violate whatever they please!The notice forces the villagers to accept measurements of their homes, and forces them to take a low rate of compensation. We have lived here for generations, are suddenly driven out of our ancestral homes. Is this Heaven’s justice?

A while ago, the newspapers often reported on demolition problems, but now, with the new stipulations in the “National Land and Buildings Requisition and Compensation Rules,” an orderly process of eminent domain has replaced demolitions, and forcible demolitions are entirely abolished. Problems of compensations have been rectified, the provision is “ the compensation cannot be lower than the price of a comparable building on the market.” Following this stipulation, is it possible that the price of real estate in Guanzhuang is just 2700 yuan per square meter? Would you be capable of buying a house at this price? Also, there is a stipulation that in fixing the compensation plan there must be a solicitation of public opinion, and if a majority of people consider the compensation to be inadequate, there must be a public hearing to revise the plan.

Why is the government not following its own stipulations? Who will look out for the interests of the common people?
konjaku: meanwhile…



Laying the foundation for the new village, for Guanzhuang village residents, a dream come true. The new village project will provide for over 9000 residents.

Colored banners flying, a coordinated gun salute. On 03-29, amid gong, drum, and cheers, the ceremony for the opening of construction of Wangsiying town Guanzhung New Village took place. Three years from now, on the original village land, there will be built an 812,500 square meter new residential buildings with the capacity to settle 9052 residents. The district leaders Chen Gang (now Beijing vice mayor) Tong Keke, Xin Yanqin, etc. were present.

The Guanzhuang New Village project began on 11-01 last year, one of three such projects in our district. As it is situated in the zone in which urban and rural come together, in Guanzhuang village there were close to 80,000 people. The population density was outside the norm, and there were many privately constructed rentals. Water and electricity systems were overloaded. Although the water pipe system was redone twice, at peak times only a thin trickle of water would come out of faucets. Long time Guanzhuang resident Chang Shuyuan said, of that original living environment, that villagers had had enough of it: “ We villagers have been looking forward to demolition of the old village and moving into something better. When we meet others, the conversation is all about how much they envy us.”

The villagers dream of many years is now coming to reality. This village transformation project will follow the guideline issued by the municipal city party committee and city government, “ to improve the environment for the benefit of the common people.” Demolition and relocation of residences and businesses in Guanzhuang village will be carried out by the Wangsiying town government. The Wangsiying and Guanzhung village cadres have gone door to door to explain the policy to the people, and have gotten their support. In just a few months the task of moving out of Guanzhuang village is almost entirely complete, and the laying of the foundation for the New Village is going smoothly.

Chang Shuyuan said, “We have all gone to see the table-top model of the project.” She has heard the details from a member of the planning unit. “ Water, sewage, electricity, gas –all provided. Built to the same standard as market price housing –cable t.v., phone and internet connections in every unit. In the residential district there will be a school, a kindergarden, a health service center, a recreation and sports center, a green open space. Post office, telecommunications, shopping, amusement, truly nothing is lacking!

At the ceremony, party district committee secretary Chen Gang said, “The Guanzhuang New Village project is officially started! Listening to the district leaders’ earnest speech, seeing the beautiful buildings dancing on the plan display, Chang Shuyuan can hardly wait for the day when she can move in.

konjaku: another blog:

Guanzhuang village, bucking the effort to combat corruption, disregarding party discipline and the law of the land, wants to perform assisted demolition on villagers’ legitimate property, one-sidedly sending out these notices about compensation, as in these examples below:

Notice on the process of assisted demolition in the project of relocating the focal-point village of Guanzhuang

To the household of_________ (blanked out) subject to vacating of premises

Your property is part of the Wangsiying designated green zone, and subject to removal as part of the Guanzhuang focal point village reconstruction. As you have repeatedly opposed the work of the personnel who came to remove you and your goods from your property, at present your property has not been vacated. This has obstructed the construction project to create the separate green zone, and has had a severe effect on the project of building replacement housing. The village committee has investigated, and consequently your house has already been placed in the Guanzhuang focal point village renovation by assisted demolition process. Within seven days, please report to the property removal office, and the demolition company office, to sign contracts to cooperate with the vacating of your property.

Hereby notified.

Guanzhuang village brigade committee (seal) 2013-01-04



Guanzhuang village property removal compensation notice

Your property is subject to removal as part of the Wangsiying designated green zone and Guanzhuang focal point village reconstruction. In addition, your property is in the area designated for building replacement housing for the village. Although the demolition personnel came many times to negotiate with you, you were unable to agree on a compensation amount. In order to assure that the process of completing the green zone and the replacement housing goes smoothly, we must now inform you with all due seriousness of the following details concerning the compensation plan:

1. The process of your removal and transfer to replacement housing is set forth in the stipulations issued by Beijing city.

2. The compensation plan is determined by the total area used as living space of the residence ______(blanked out), the total area of the constructed building ______(blanked out) and the number of persons_______(0), in addition to children and minors________
1) monetary compensation_______ ( blanked out)
2) Vacating the property compensation (including replacement value for building and property)___________ the Wangsiying green zone building price__________, and the encouragement bonus__________. Transition period special payments and payments for living expenses during this period will be calculated by the number of days.
3. replacement housing (if you choose the monetary compensation, you are not granted replacement housing).

Replacement housing site: it is in Guanyuexincheng, you can chose the floor plan and type, the purchase price is 3000 yuan per square meter (may vary by building purchase price), the replacement housing area is_______

Within seven days after receipt of this notice, you must come to the Guanzhuang Village Committee and make your choice regarding the compensation plan in writing. If you do not make a decision and exceed the time limit, your household relinquishes the authority to make a choice, and the authority will be given over to the Guanzhuang Village Committee.

If your household disagrees with the figures for building area or number of persons in the home given above, within seven days after receipt of this notice you should go to the Village Committee and request a review of the figures. If the stipulated time period passes, it will be assumed that your household agrees to the figures given above.

Within seven days, you are required to come to the Guanzhuang removal and relocation office to sign an agreement regarding compensation. Once that time elapses, the village committee, according to the resolution of the number 8 Villagers Congress 5th meeting, shall proceed with assisted demolition of your home.

Hereby notified Guanzhuang Village Committee 2013-01-11

(Blog comment) The village committee does not have the authority to violate the constitution,how can it force villagers to assist in demolition of their own homes?

Is this compensation notice lawful or not?

konjaku:  “assisted demolition,” or, the phrase “the Guanzhuang focal point village renovation by assisted demolition process” is used by the government against the villagers protesting the terms of compensation. Here, “assisted demolition” seems like a euphemism for the old “forcible demolition” which has become illegal under the new stipulations.

The process of clearing out villagers resisting demolition seems to have continued into 2015.

from a blog:

Today, in the early morning, at Wangsiying town Guanzhuang village, there was a forcible demolition incident involving bloodshed. The demolishing entity hired a large number of thugs, who beat and injured the local villagers with sticks. Large excavators have already appeared on the scene to tear down the houses, besides this, there are many uniformed personnel imposing martial law on the scene! This incident is still in progress. It makes one’s blood boil with anger!




more photos at the link

Village #6:Yaojiayuan village–a stalled process

konjaku: village #6 is Yaojiayuan, still in the Chaoyang district.


According to the first article here (an excerpt), in 2011-09, “99% of the [village] residents [had]already moved out,” and demolition of the village was imminent. However, in the next article, from 2014, we learn some residents are still in their homes, the relocation and redevelopment process seems to be stalled.

Three listed up villages in Chaoyang begin the demolition process this month


In Chaoyang district there are nine listed up villages. At six of these — Beiwu, Beiyuan, Juzifang, Changdian, Yaojiayuan, and Xidian –the demolition and relocation process has already begun. For Beiwu and Beiyuan, the process has been completed. At Juzifang, Changdian, and Yaojiayuan, 99% of the residents have already moved out. At Xidian the non-residents are gone, and 87% of the residents have moved. In Guanzhuang, Shibalidian and Longzhaoshu, a survey of all the residents will begin in the first third of the month. In the second third, they will begin the process of moving out. At this point, for these three villages the process of entering bids for the demolition job has ended, the company to do the work has been chosen, the preparations to begin demolishing have been completed. The non-residents have been moved out, and the work of surveying the residents and their properties has begun.

Beijing Yaojiayuan village –demolished land becomes a mountain of garbage



The other day, a Ms Zhao, resident of Yaojiayuan village, telephoned this newspaper to say that on the northwest side of the Yaojiayuan road intersection, there is a large section of land on which all the structures have been demolished, and now on the old site of what used to be homes, there is just a mound of garbage. The site is filled with wastewater and floating white plastic bags. Ms Zhao hopes that the relevant government departments will not ignore the condition of this type of site, in which the old buildings were demolished, but new construction has not yet begun.

On 02-10, this reporter went to the site at the Yaojiayuan road intersection inside Yaojiayuan village. According to the villagers, some years previously the project to demolish the village had begun. At present, approximately half of the buildings in the village have been demolished, and the rest are still intact, for all sorts of reasons. In some cases, the villagers are still negotiating over their compensation amounts.

This reporter observed that everywhere on the empty land the remains of demolition had not yet been cleaned up. On sites where houses had been torn down there were piles of smashed brick, on top of which household garbage had been thrown, items such as plastic bottles, forming a mound along with silty loess and seeping dirty water. This reporter discovered an area of over 1000 square meters, originally occupied by a wholesale market, now in ruins. It was a small mountain of construction rubble and loess (loose silty soil). Every time the wind gusted, the air around filled with swirling dirt. A villager, Mr Zhang, said that, ever since the village buildings began to be demolished, there has been no clean-up of any kind, not so much as a single person with a broom.The debris has not been sorted. On the contrary, the area has become a fee-less garbage dump, over the objection of the villagers.

Residents who have not yet relocated told this reporter, since there has been no follow-up after the initial demolition, the pipes of the underground water system, either smashed or decomposed, have for an extended period been leaking water into the earth. The villagers can only watch helplessly as day by day, fresh, clear water flows out and is wasted. Also, there are some villagers who relocated, but their homes were not demolished. Only the doors and windows were taken out. These villagers have since come back, and without authorization have fixed up their old homes. Now they are renting them out to unidentified migrants, bringing about a hidden danger to the security of the village.

Villagers living in the vicinity of the empty land said the government should come back and complete the job, and clean up the environment after demolishing, as soon as possible.

Reporter Sun Xiaojie

konjaku: the next article, also from 2014, is about a site along Yaojiayuan Road. I’m not sure the area referred to corresponds with Yaojiayuan village, but it tells a similar story of a stalled process of development. Surrounded by tall buildings, there are small areas, including Yaojiayuan village, which are still in the process of disappearing or becoming something else. In these sites of transition, a different type of development springs up.

Yaojiayuan’s Unlicensed Morning Market disturbs social order
2014-03-20 03:11:41 Source: Beijing Daily



Recently, a Mr Li, who lives in the Lishuijiayan residential community, wrote this newspaper, saying that opposite the Yaojiayuan road Tuanjiehu Primary School, since the second month of this year, some people without permission have built stalls and are holding a food market on a tract of empty land, upon which the buildings have been demolished. But since this market is not well managed, part of it has spilled over into the road, making it difficult for cars to pass through. Also, the market is next to the kindergarden and primary school, and every morning there is the noise of venders’ cries, which are loud and disturbing. Further, the market spews out trash everywhere. Those living in the residential community hope the government will, according to law, regulate the market and bring it up to standard.

On the morning of 03-14, this reporter went to Yaojiayuan Road, from the south side of Zongluquan. Yaojiayuan Road runs from east to west, and is a two lane road, with traffic running in both directions. But this reporter saw that across from the primary school, the south lane of Yaojiayuan Road was block by a line of stalls of the open air market. This turned the two lane road into a one lane road, and the section of road east of the market was cramped with cars trying to get through the narrow space. Mr Li told this reporter, that the vegetable market was on empty land which had gone through the demolition process. Originally on this land there had been a family home, which was slow in being demolished, delaying the construction of a further extension of Yaojiayuan Road. When that family eventually moved away in 2008, for some reason,construction of the new section of the road through this plot of empty land did not resume, leaving the road half completed. Seeing the land empty, some individuals built market stalls on it. About two years after it opened this market was forced to close, because its operation was non-standard. However, after half a year passed, on -2-28 of this year, it reopened.

This reporter walked through the market. There are a several lines of stalls, surrounded by corrugated iron fencing. Going through one entrance, this reporter saw venders selling flowering plants, cooked snacks, and daily necessities. There were also empty stalls, with a notice soliciting new venders.

Approximately 10 meters down the road from the west entrance to the market, there were three electrical poles with a tangle of wires hanging down. This reporter noticed that coming out of this dense tangle there was a slender white pipe and a coarse strand of electric wire following along with it, that going along the road, went into a prefab shed. This reporter could not tell if the white pipe was electric wiring or a water pipe. However, not far from the electrical wires, there were several water-logged sinkholes in the road, which pedestrians had to walk around. Inside the market were many built up sheds with stalls selling fruit and vegetables, Many people were coming and going, it was quite lively. There was also trash strewn about everywhere.

Since the eastern side of the market took over the sidewalk, passersby were compelled to walk into the market, past the stalls. This reporter heard that the volume of pedestrians was two to three thousand a day. Market customers and passersby were mixed, pushed together in a crowded space. “Because of the market taking up sidewalk space, a broad road has become a narrow road to walk through. Every morning it is packed with people. There really shouldn’t be a market here,” Mr Li complained.

Further, this reporter noticed that the newly constructed section of Yaojiayuan Road did not have a sidewalk or any traffic signs whatsoever. In every direction cars and pedestrians had no indications when to go and when to wait, therefore they were all snarled in a mess.

This reporter next went to interview an official in the Chaoyang District Liulitun neighborhood committee office. She said the empty land of demolished buildings occupied by the market is actually not part of the the road construction. In the overall urban plan, a Community Health Center is designated to be built on the site. At present the land in question is being run by a private company, it is not yet under government control. However, the neighborhood committee office will look into the complaints of the residents near the market and take appropriate action as soon as possible.

Reporter Sun Xiaojie, trainee, Yang Xingwei.

konjaku: next, moving up to 2015-09, we see the Yaojiayuan Village Committee as the agent of the next step of development. Whether the village as a whole still has residents or not, is fully cleaned up after demolition or not, is not the issue here. A group of relatively modest, medium sized businesses which once made a substantial contribution to the village economy are now considered obsolete. They must move away to make a place for, either another multi-story development, or, to become part of the green zone, as called for in the plan.

Chaoyang District Pingfang township Yaojiayuan village forcible demolition investigation


Yaojiayuan village, in the northeast of Beijing, between the 4th and 5th rings, in Chaoyang district Pingfang town, is a typical example of an urban village. It is close to Chaoyang Joy City (a large shopping mall), which has raised the real estate value of the village site. Already four high grade office buildings have sprung up in the Damei Center (a CBD development project).

2015-08, at the beginning of the month, businesses on the north side of the Damei Center contacted the office of the “Law and Livelihood” magazine. These businesses sit on land rented to them by Yaojiayan village. Now, they report that Yaojiayuan Village intends to demolish the buildings on this property along Yaojiayuan South Road,, including buildings built by the businesses themselves. The compensation offered by the village was far from adequate, and would result in a considerable loss. The businesses feel they are being wronged and have no options to redress, therefore they have contacted the media to get support for their case.




(konjaku: in these photos, the businesses in question are one story factories or offices, surrounded by tall buildings)

2015-08-10 and 11, the Law and Livelihood reporter investigated this typical case of dispute involving the demolition of rented property in Yaojiayuan village.

For the reporter’s benefit, the businesses eagerly showed a copy of the demolition notice they received. Dated 2015-06-29, it bears the seals of the Yaojiayuan village committee and the Yaojiayuan Economic Cooperative. It reads, “To those affected parties, As called for in the Pingfang town development plan, your esteemed places of business are within the zone slated for demolishing. The Yaojiayuan Economic Cooperative, in accordance with the Pingfang town plan to implement the green zone, has repeatedly consulted with you on dissolving the rental contract and demolishing the buildings. Now, on receipt of this notice, before 2-15-08-01, you must demolish all buildings you have yourself constructed, and return the land to Yaojiayuan village. If you do not, the Yaojiayuan village entities will initiate proceedings to shut off the water and electricity, then will assist you in the demolition process.”


The businesses addressed by the notice called into question the legal efficacy of the document. They said that except for this “Notice,” they have not received an official announcement of intent to demolish by the relevant government department. Obviously, this Notice is not the same as a government issued announcement. This is a notice sent by the village organization to each business individually. It simply means there is a row of businesses they want to raze to the ground.

Not wanting to watch helplessly their painstaking efforts of more than 10 years being swept away in a moment, the renters previously went to the village committee and the Pingfang government, formally inquiring as to what official documents existed that specified the levying of the land and the action to demolish, but they did not receive a satisfactory answer.

The reporter took a look at the rental contract. The landlord is named as the Yaojiayuan village technology development corporation. The lease was from 1999-01-01 until 2008-12-31. The rent is to increase 5% each year, and due in full at the beginning of each year. A supplement does deal with the buildings constructed by the renters. When the lease is concluded the landlord will take over the buildings, but will pay for their net value, at a depreciation rate of 10%, or the renters will dispose of the buildings themselves.

For many years, the renters have paid the rent on time, including the yearly increase. They have also given jobs to the villagers. Once the lease expired, although the two parties had not yet signed a new contract, the renters continued to pay the yearly rent in full, and continued to operate their businesses without being given any reason to be anxious about the future there. Some has increased their capital investment, and were hoping to develop further.

One morning, everything changed.

The renters said that for a number of years, Yaojiayuan village had given them support in the development of their businesses. Water and electricity service had been consistent. When the lease began, the businesses had some difficulty with the procedures to get business licenses, and the Yaojiayuan village committee had helped, providing the official seals and certificates, insuring the process went without a hitch.

After some ten years of expending their youthful energy and working hard, through sweat and toil they had begun to receive some reward, and managed to keep developing and expanding. As this reporter verified at the site, these businesses are not small. However, just by receiving one piece of paper, the notice of demolition, everything has changed. They have been given one month to relocate, with no advance warning, and with no reasonable offer of compensation.

The tenants have been told the compensation amount is determined by the 2002 policy for creation of the green zone, which pays 500 yuan per square meter of a buildings’ surface area. Manager of the Dataoke Restaurant said, “our area is 3750 square meters, which would provide us with compensation that comes to less than 2 million yuan. But our investment in the building was 17 million yuan and for renovations and decoration we invested 30 million yuan. We originally came to this site because Yaojiayuan village encouraged us, as they were attracting outside investment to the area. Because of their support we came here, now they want to take back the land. But isn’t there too great a disparity between the amount they are offering and the money we have invested?

At the Jinruihaoqifu Factory and Auto Repair, the owner says to creditors who have come demanding loan repayments, “You can take the equipment you see here. You can take the tables and chairs. Since I must vacate, I have no more use for them.” He said, “We were supposed to be out by 08-01. On 07-31 they shut off all the utilities. Before that we were in the process of renovating the factory. We never got a chance to finish.” Because the electricity was turned off, inside the factory it was hot and muggy. A middle aged man, his face drenched with sweat, shook his head and smiled bitterly. “In better times, we used to have ten or more Yaojiayuan villagers employed in our repair shop. But now we have a debt of over 1 million yuan to pay, and we don’t know what we are going to do.”

On 08-11, an unknown person smashed the glass front of their Home Auto Repair shop. The owner does not know if there is any connection to the impending demolition or not. They filed a report with the Pingfang police station, but so far the police have not done an investigation.

Next door to the Jinrui factory is a company called Creative Endeavors Foundation. This company is a pioneer in the field of creating new types of jobs, and job training for the handicapped. Their lobby is full of poster displays documenting their many projects which contributed to the public welfare. A staff member Mr Deng said, “for many years we have devoted ourselves to projects creating new types of jobs, training, and helping people get employment. We have poured back the majority of our profits into the company. After 15 years, we have 2200 square meters of space, and several hundred nationally registered patents. We were planning next year to get in the New Third Board (a national share transfer system for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and in less than three years after that, to get on the Hong Kong Exchange. Even though demolition is imminent, a number of company staff members are still busily occupied at their work stations… it is unfortunate, that, before long all this will be gone.

On 08-11, this reporter went to the Pingfang township government office, and met with Son Qi, a media liaison staff member. This reporter expressed the wish to find out about the Yaojiayuan village plans for the land in question after demolition, about the details of the approval process for the plan, and what measures have been taken for compensation and relocation. At this, Son Qi demanded that the reporter submit these questions in written form, in a document certified with an official government seal, to be sent to her through the post.

After following these instructions, this reporter received a phone call from Son Qi. She said the Chaoyang District Department of Information also requested an original of the document with seal, and the reporter’s press card (not a copy). If this condition was fulfilled, the reporter would receive an answer. For a second time, this reporter submitted the requested documents. However, up until press time, no answer to the questions has been forthcoming, even though this reporter knows the documents were received by both government departments.

Since the demolition issue also involves a legal question, this reporter next contacted a legal specialist. This specialist said that under city planning and redevelopment law, levying village collective land for the purpose of constructing the green zone involved a series of steps. The items under consideration must be listed up, a plan developed, the affected land identified. A compensation plan for those areas must be drawn up. A public order of suspension of new construction or business development on the levied land must be published, etc., etc. Those persons whose land is levied have the right to participate in each step of the process. There have to be funds set aside to deal with all the costs of the project. Specifically, there has to be a follow-up procedure to ensure that villagers who have lost their land receive social safeguards.

Article 27 of the National Regulations for Levying Land and Compensation states that it is illegal to subject individuals to violence and threats, including cutting off gas, water, electricity, and blocking roads. It is also illegal to force people to move.

Because the vital interests of the tenants is at stake, they have the right to petition the government to make public all the steps of the process leading to demolition. They should receive compensation for the cost of relocation, plus reparation for the loss of business incurred during the process.

In 2014-09, the Central Commission for Enforcing Discipline issued a notice reinforcing the guidelines laid out in the Regulations: the government cannot demolish by force! The tenants expect Chaoyang District and Pingfang township to follow this notice. As quickly as possible they should respond with a reasonable, equitable, and legal answer to the tenants’ requests. This publication will continue to follow this story.

From the “Law and Livelihood” twice monthly magazine, published in the issue of the first half of the 9th month, 2015.

The standard land price, and compensation amounts

konjaku: the compensation Beigao villagers received for their demolished homes was calculated by a formula, which was based, not upon the market value of their property, but on the “standard land price.” The amount of the standard land price, some 60% less than market values in 2010, largely determined the amount of compensation.
The standard land price, also translated as the “benchmark land price” was apparently first established by the government in 1978, in the absence of any other system for appraising land and fixing land prices. Nowadays, it seems to have less influence on the real estate market, but as the following article argues, still a great deal to do with compensation amounts.

Standard Land Price is Readjusted, the period in which revisions are made needs to be shortened



The standard land price is more than just connected to compensation for demolished houses, it is the key determining factor. It determines the amount of compensation, regardless of the market value of the demolished property.
A few days ago, the Beijing city government, for the first time in 12 years, issued a new determination of standard land prices. Compared to 2002, this revision is notable for finer divisions, more accuracy. Types of land use went from 10 categories, to 12. The standard land price average has risen. In the old, center city areas, it can go up to 29980 yuan per square meter.

Efforts were made to revise standard land prices in 2006 and 2010, but public hearings did not bring about results. Since the standard land prices were not revised for a long time, they are far below actual market prices.

For a number of years, and continuing up to the present, when land is levied by the government and houses are demolished, compensation follows the legal formulation of: “(Standard land price xK + standard building price) x the area of the house to be demolished + the house replacement cost. The standard land price is the crucial element in this formula, and carries much more weight than the market price of the property in question, whatever that may be.

In recent years, problems over compensation have been been in the public eye, and the fact that compensation rates are low has increased the intensity of the disputes. One point of issue at the forefront is the failure to adjust the standard land price in a timely fashion. But because setting the standard land price is within the government’s legal authority and power, and setting compensation rates is based upon this determination, those who cry for help that compensation rates are too low, have no recourse. They may feel the compensation amount they are offered is completely irrational, but because the government is within its rights and not overstepping its prerogatives, there is nothing they can do.

In fact, it is not true that there are no stipulations that the government must readjust the standard land price at a certain rate of frequency, or within any set period of time. The Real Estate Code says the standard land price should be decided for a fixed length of time. The National Planning Commission Land Code says the price should be adjusted once every two years, and if market fluctuations show a large amount of movement, it can be adjusted once a year. When Beijing city published its 2002 manual of land prices, it stated there would be a readjustment every two or three years. Now, after a wait of 12 years, there has finally been a readjustment, causing people to sigh.

Therefore in the future, there needs to be improvement, the period between adjustments must be shortened, to bring about a parity with market prices. Since this is already written in the law, the people have a rational basis for an expectation that this will happen.

Writer: A Concerned Person (employed in the law)