Beijing Appellants' Village Demolished, but Not Forgotten

January 1, 2008 12:00 am Last Updated: January 1, 2008 12:00 am

On the morning of December 17, the courtyard of Beijing's last appellants' village on Kaiyang Road collapsed amidst the roar of construction vehicles. Though the village was demolished, its over twenty years of history will be forever remembered.

According to the witnesses, a dozen police vehicles and moving trucks along with an ambulance and a fire truck arrived at the last portion of the appellants' village on the morning of December 17 for demolition. The police arrived fully equipped with helmets and bulletproof clothing to prevent resistance from the appellants. A large number of police officers, security guards and demolition personnel drove the appellants away and loaded their belongings onto the moving trucks. Several hours later, only a dozen over sixty-years old elderly appellants were left wandering on the site.

Chen Lianqing, an appellant from Hebei Province, recalled that in the early morning, authorities instructed them to move immediately as the demolition will happen straightaway. His family followed the order and left.

Like other appellants, Chen and his family have very little money. They could only afford to live in the courtyard of the appellants' village for five yuan (U.S. $.69) a day. Chen, who went to Beijing to find justice for his father, said, “The local authorities won't even allow us to find a place to live. They demolished the village and drove us to the streets. Beijing's weather is currently freezing. The regime leaves us no option but to sleep on the street corners!”

In the past, local authorities encircled the village many times—burning, smashing and dissembling the houses and windows—but the appellants never gave in. They fixed the holes with either plastic cloth or linoleum, and left and came back as needed. According to the appellants, there used to be many homes like this around the Beijing South Railway Station. Now the authorities have demolished the village and constructed a low wall around the site to prevent appellants from entering.

The appellants' village officially disappeared on December 27, 2007, but a new appellants' village may soon emerge in another corner of Beijing.

Chen remarked, “As long as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is in power, the appellants will not rest. The appellants' village will live against the CCP's tyranny. The appellant's village is a testimony to the CCP's tyranny and dictatorship. It has recorded the bitter course of numerous appellants from around the country. The appellants' village will live in their memories forever.”