China Tenants Fight Bizarre Subway Eviction Order

June 8, 2006 12:00 am Last Updated: September 15, 2015 7:27 pm

BEIJING – Planners in China’s northern city of Tianjin forced more than 400 residents from their homes to make way for a subway – even though the subway had already been built, a Chinese newspaper said on Thursday.

Breakneck development and soaring property values have made land seizures involving collusion between government officials and developers a common occurrence in China.

The completed subway Line 1 began trial runs in March, the Beijing News said, but residents were told later that their apartment block would have to be demolished.

After the subway was built, the building commission said an original notice earmarking demolition “north of Erwei St” should have said “south” – the area including the apartment block.

“The people should understand and co-operate with the demolition work,” the paper quoted an official as saying.

But the residents weren’t buying it, the paper said, accusing the developer of trying to cash in on the rise in property values near the subway line.

After registering their case twice with district and municipal complaints offices and appealing to over 10 government departments, the residents hired a Beijing lawyer to register the case at a Tianjin court.

But, in a bizarre twist, a judge ruled against hearing the case and physically attacked the lawyer after he complained, the paper said.

China’s Communist Party frowns on displays of dissent, but increasing protests against land seizures have become a major cause of concern for the country’s leaders.

Last December, riot police opened fire on demonstrators protesting against a land grab in Dongzhou, a village in China’s southern province of Guangdong, killing at least three people (although other reports say at least 30) and wounding eight.