Beijing Continues to Demolish Residential Homes Under Guise of the Olympics

By Fang Yuan, Radio Free Asia
April 20, 2008 12:00 am Last Updated: April 20, 2008 12:00 am

While the Olympic Games will open in less than four months in Beijing, authorities continue to demolish homes on the pretext of preparing for the games.

Wang Lianmin, a resident in Yangshan Village about two miles from the Olympic Stadium, had his house demolished on April 17. And Ni Yulan and her husband were detained because of their attempts to stop their home from being demolished the previous day.

On April 17, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported a story about Wang Lianmin, a No.53 villager of the south production team in Yangshan Village. His house was destroyed by 100 people led by bailiffs from the Chaoyang District Court. Wang was also detained because he attempted to take photos to document what happened.

Sun Yongliang, whose house is one of two currently left standing, told RFA what happened that day:

“At 9:00 a.m., police cars parked in front of [Wang's] house. Then some trucks and ambulances came shortly after. In total, over 100 people came from a moving company, the Housebreaking Office and the Urban Management Bureau. They refused to be interviewed by a French reporter while [the officials] took video and photos of the French and Japanese reporters. Wang Lianmin helped his old father go to Zhongnanhai (Chinese regime's office compound) to appeal.” It is said that the police later arrested his father who is a former Red Army member.

An RFA reporter contacted Wang soon after being released in the afternoon. Wang said that while police originally planned to detain him, he was released with the help of cadres from his work unit. He added, “My work unit picked up me after I was forced to write a 'self-criticism,' admitting that I am a 'legal-illiterate' and that everything is my fault. Because they put me in handcuffs, I have no choice.”

At present, the Chinese regime has arranged a temporary house for his family. But they did not move in because the house is not in habitable condition.

Worrying about the same thing happening again, Wang said, “The officials destroyed our houses under the cloak of the Olympics. Here it is out of range of Olympic Stadium, about two or three kilometers away. Originally, I thought they would drive us away in the name of the Olympic Park. But I realized they would tear down our houses under the excuse of building the Olympic Village. Anyways, they do whatever they want in the name of the Olympics.”

“Now, Beijing always launches any campaigns including improving the environment and demolishing houses using the name of the Olympic Games. Actually I am living at the boundary of the Olympic Village. The Olympic Stadium is located to the west of Anli Road while we are living on the east side.”

However, these demolition and relocation initiatives have nothing to do with the Olympic Games. The officials only want to build commercial housing. Currently, the compensation price paid for land is 4,000 yuan (US $572) per square meter. However, the price of real-estate nearby has already reached 15,000 yuan ($2,500) per square meter.

Sun Yuanliang said, “Our requirements are reasonable. That is, they should trade one nearby home for ours. If they want to compensate me for land loss, they should pay the average price.”

In addition, Ni Yulan, a member of the Beijing House Owner's Rights Protection Movement, and her husband were in administrative detention after being detained by the Xinjiekou police station for 36 hours on April 16 after attempting to protect their home.

Her daughter said, “They charged my father for calling 110 [911] without legitimate reasons and alleged assault. It is full of lies and prevarications. The people from the House Transformation Office also dialed 110 and alleged that my mother also assaulted them. My father dialed 110 and reported that they hit my mother. However, they said that my father was lying. At present we have not received any warrants against my parents. My father will be detained for five days. As for my mother, we do not know how many days she will be detained there.”