Several hundred families who first lost their homes to the Three Gorges Dam project are now faced with losing their nearly completed residences, along with their life savings, in the resettlement area in southwest China’s Sichuan Province. They are pointing the finger at the antics of corrupt builders and the ineptitude of local officials.
According to official statistics, there are 1.4 million evacuees from the Three Gorges Dam project. Zhuyi Town, Fengjie County, within the Chongqing Municipality in southwest China, is one of the places allocated for the resettlement of Three Gorges Dam evacuees. Part of the land in Zhuyi Town was designated for these immigrants to rebuild on.
In December 2009, six hundred immigrant families jointly purchased four 12-story buildings that were already under construction, which would have provided 30,000 square meters of living space upon completion.
On Aug. 18, 2010, however, the Zhuyi Township government issued a public notice that the four buildings, which are now close to completion, were illegally constructed and will be confiscated and torn down. Furthermore, all incurred expenses and damages are to be paid for by these immigrant families alone.
Most of the families either borrowed money or used their life savings to purchase the apartments. Some of them have already spent around US$20,000, and as such were shocked and dismayed by the unexpected announcement.
Over 100 representatives from the families have been gathering outside the government building for days, waiting for answers to their questions on why it took the government so long to publish the news. As of Aug. 31 they have received no formal response.
Mr. Chen, who invested 80,000 yuan (US$10,000) in the apartment project, told The Epoch Times: “The buildings have been under construction for so long, yet the government did not tell us earlier that they were illegal.”
Another investor, Mr. Mao, said, “What irritates us is that the construction started in November, and we bought the apartments on Dec. 10. Why did the government not intervene and tell us at that time that they were illegal? Why didn’t they tell us not to buy the apartments?”
. Only us children, wives, and elderly are left to guard our homes, which will soon be destroyed by the government. How are we to live?!' (Provided by the appellant)”] The families have requested the government conduct an investigation into what might be behind the sudden notice at such a late stage. Officials’ only response was to tell them to sue the developer, and offer to arrange a lawyer for them.
“But the indictment does not mention our requests [for an investigation],” Mr. Mao said: “And it does not involve the government at all. How could it only be the developer’s fault?”
He also harbors serious doubts about the government’s intentions: “The government is pushing the responsibility onto us and the developer. At the end of the day, the developer may be thrown in jail, but we will still be left with nothing,” he said.
Meanwhile, different government offices have begun pointing fingers at each other.
The Land and Resources Bureau claims that they just recently found out that the buildings were over the height and space limit; the Urban Planning Bureau said they had performed their duties by sending a notice to stop the construction, but that it was not stopped; the Industrial and Commercial Bureau said the sales contracts were illegal and wouldn’t be honored by law.
Read the original Chinese article.