New Property Acquisition Law Triggers Fears in China
New Property Acquisition Law Triggers Fears in China

Chinese authorities demolish houses which are claimed illegal by the local government in Wuhan, central China's Hubei province on May 7, 2010. Land seizures have been a problem for years in China and forced evictions have not been uncommon. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Chinese authorities demolish houses which are claimed illegal by the local government in Wuhan, central China's Hubei province on May 7, 2010. Land seizures have been a problem for years in China and forced evictions have not been uncommon. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

The recent announcement of the draft of a new law in Southwestern China, “Measures for Dealing with Emergent Incidents in Sichuan Province,” is causing heated controversy. According to the proposal, authorities can seize both business and personal property whenever they deem it necessary.

However, the law does not specify guidelines for acquisition or suggest any form of compensation. A widespread concern is that the draft is a new way for regime officials to expropriate the property of citizens under a legal veneer.

The draft announced on Oct. 3, requires local governments above the county level to establish an open system for “information of emergent incidents.” It states that authorities can appropriate work units’ property and personal property when necessary.

“The draft violates the law not only in the legislation process, but the proposed law itself is a violation,” Guo Lianhui, an attorney, told The Epoch Times in a recent interview.

He said that to confiscate property, a public announcement should first be made and then hearings held. The Chinese constitution clearly stipulates that private property should be protected by the law, he says. “If the local government can make a law regardless of the Constitution, then why is there a Constitution?”

Unchecked Power

Some analysts point out that the draft law in Sichuan is actually nothing new. Fueling the controversy over the draft are the many tragic experiences from the unchecked power of CCP officials.

Attorney Zheng Jianwei from Sichuan’s capital, Chongqing, said: “Any law or regulation a nation or a government makes should restrict public power and protect private rights. Otherwise, when power held in the interest of the public good is abused and instead used to violate private rights which have no laws to protect them, it will result in tragedies.”

Ni Yulan, a former Beijing lawyer said: “It’s handy for officials to play word games. They are especially good at this. They oppress and plunder the people through local laws.”

Ms. Ni herself became a victim of China’s forced demolition at the end of 2008. When she tried to block the demolition of her home she was jailed and tortured for over a year, she says.

Ni explained why she thinks the law is being proposed now: “When the public began to voice its opinion so strongly against these crimes [forced demolition backed by authorities], making them no longer able to continue to do it, they [the regime] will change their ways but continue their plunder.”

Dangerous Precedent

Addressing the point that the draft does not give specific details for compensation or how to return the seized property, Guo, the attorney, said the authorities should allow citizens to fully express their views in an open way, and then the proposed draft can be further modified. Otherwise, it will result in an abuse of power, he argues, “Especially in today’s China, the government’s administration is getting darker and darker.”

He further commented that the newly drafted law reflects China’s current social situation, “The government takes illegal actions whenever it suits its interests, and does nothing when it does not serve them. It’s a reality in today’s China.”

“If such a law at the local level can be successfully passed, other local city’s governments, provinces, and autonomous regions will follow.” He added, “It’s not difficult to predict what the consequences will be and what situations will take place.”

Read the original Chinese article

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