CHINA—On the morning of April 19, in China's southeast city of Hangzhou, Shangcheng District Deputy District Governor Liu Zhian, Deputy District Party Chief Yu Yong and about 100 policemen and demolition workers headed towards the Qinghe Fang heritage site. They forcefully evicted local resident Yuan Aixiang from her own home. Both Liu and Yu personally supervised the whole process.
Yuan's houses, No. 7 and No. 9 of Dajing Lane in Qinghe Fang, are located near the famous scenic spot in the vicinity of Wu Mountain. Both houses were inherited by Yuan Aixiang. Both houses face the street with valuable business potential.
On the night of the 18th, Yuan Aixiang and her family members received a Forced Eviction Notice without any prior warning. On the morning of the 19th, Deputy Director of Shangcheng District led a group of more than 100 people, including Urban Management officials, anti-riot policemen and National Securitie officers, toward Dajing Lane. They blocked the roadways and began a forced eviction and demolition.
Yuan's Family members said that all their belongings were confiscated and loaded onto several big trucks. They did not know where the authorities had shipped their belongings. They didn't have the capacity to fight the government, so all they could do was to watch the forced entry and looting of their home. They did not dare to quarrel nor make any complaint.
A witness, who wishes to remain anonymous, said that the officials forced their way in by smashing the front door. Passersby all came forward to defend Yuan against the injustice saying that these kinds of acts were no different from robbery. Later, both houses were sealed up with concrete and bricks. The owner felt indignant but dared not speak out against these barbaric acts.
To protect their properties, residents of Dajing Lane in Qinghe Fang have lodged five appeals in Beijing since August of last year. In September 2006, Yuan Aixiang was accused of “violence and obstruction of official business” and detained for 28 days by the National Securities. Her younger brother was also detained for 25 days. In the end, they had to surrender their houses to regain their freedom. The authorities forced them to sign their properties away before they were finally released.
Since Qinghe Fang is a historic district, the regime has previously specified that there would only be renovations instead of eviction and demolition. Citizens would retain their private land and houses.
Currently, according to Dajing Lane residents, the local regime wants to acquire all the properties for commercial business development. The local newspaper has reported that the average market value ranges from 70,000 to 80,000 yuan (approximately US$ 10,400) per square meter. The regime only reimburses the residents 4,900 RMB (approximately US$ 635) per square meter. They force the residents to sign away their properties and send them to live in the countryside.
Qinghe Fang residents tirelessly petition and appeal to the government. Hence they are constantly arrested and detained. Many residents can't make ends meet anymore. Some of the elderly were even scared to death. Four senior citizens have passed away during the past few months. Many were detained, arrested or even forcefully evicted and relocated. They hope that the local and foreign media will show concern on this matter. Thus helping to prevent the local regime's illegal acts of forced eviction and relocation against the citizens.