Anger as Beijing Starts Latest Round of Demolitions

December 4, 2007 Updated: December 4, 2007

BEIJING—Chinese workers started the latest round of forced demolitions for projects related to next year's Beijing Olympics on Tuesday, sparking anger from some residents who say their objections have been ignored.

A large crane dismantled a small, low-rise block of apartments as resident Zhang Yaoyao looked on, a short distance from the main “bird's nest” Olympic stadium.

Developers plan to build a “security channel” where the flats stand, according to a notice plastered to an exterior wall.

But the remaining six families say they have been offered a pitifully small amount of compensation for losing their houses, and requests to talk about their removal with officials have been ignored.

“They have demolished my house without any justification or compensation, using the Olympics as an excuse,” an angry Zhang told Reuters, as workers with hammers picked over the remains of his home.

“Is it the way China is going to build the Olympics? Are there still human rights in China?” he added.

With less than a year to go before the Games begin, there is still lingering resentment about the way the government has pushed some people out of their homes to build roads, subways, stadiums and other facilities.

The government and Beijing Olympic organisers have consistently denied using coercion and insisted all compensation claims had been properly dealt with.

Rights groups have criticised Beijing for detaining people who try to protest against the knocking down of their homes and the arbitrary nature of the demolition process.