Forced Demolition of Housing Community in Beijing Sparks Protests Among Residents

December 17, 2020 Updated: December 17, 2020

The forced demolition of a housing community in Beijing has led thousands of homeowners to protest in the past few days, as authorities have threatened them to vacate the premises immediately. One resident was detained for her alleged role in instigating the protests. Some locals told The Epoch Times that the demolition was ordered by the central government.

The forced demolition of homes in Xiangtang New Village, in Changping district of Beijing, began on Dec. 10, residents told the publication. The community has 3,800 households and 500 households have already been notified by the local government that their homes will be demolished. Most of the homeowners in Xiangtang are elderly people.

A resident said the local government has labelled the private properties as “illegal construction” and used this as an excuse to justify tearing down the homes and not paying compensation to the homeowners.

“The government announced that everyone is required to move out within seven days. The homeowners are notified one day in advance before their house is demolished,” he said.

“People are panicking … they don’t know who will be next,” another resident said.

A homeowner said, “The demolition team has cut off the water, electricity, and natural gas. Now they have cut off the internet cables.”

As of Dec. 14, five houses have been razed to the ground, residents told the publication.

They also revealed that the local authorities have made threats. If homeowners refuse to move out, they would have to pay for all the costs of the demolition and relocation, and it would negatively affect their social credit scores.

The residents quoted the authorities as saying, “If you are a Beijing resident and refuse to move out, your pension and retirement benefits will be suspended. If you have relatives overseas, they will be denied visas to China. If you don’t move, your relatives will never be able to return to China.”

CCP Is Worse Than Fascists!’

The Epoch Times obtained a video that has been circulating on social media. On Dec. 13, which marked the 83rd anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre during World War II, an elderly man protested in front of the demolition team on the streets of Xiangtang New Village. He said that his grandfather fought against Japanese invaders during the war, and after defeating the Japanese, he fought for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). But now his house is being torn down by the CCP.

One of the bystanders said, “The veterans’ sons and grandsons are now being persecuted by the CCP authorities. Why did they want to fight for them [the CCP] back then?! My elderly father has witnessed that the CCP is worse than fascists.”

Another video of the same elderly man has also attracted attention on social media. On Dec. 14, the man stood on a rooftop, holding up the Chinese national flag, and protesting about the injustice he suffered. He said, “The government wants to demolish my house. My wife has passed away, I have nowhere to go, and I can’t live anymore.” The footage also shows the demolition team cutting off electricity.

Some residents provided the publication with videos of demolished properties. One footage shows an elderly man inside his cold house and criticizing the CCP authorities for cutting off power in the winter. The video revealed that many elderly and sickly people confined at home are demanding the local government to restore electricity immediately. In the community, all the houses rely on electric heating systems.

Resident Arrested, Retired Professor on Hunger Strike

One elderly resident was arrested for allegedly inciting the protests. According to the locals, Guo Lingmei, a retired film director and the daughter of renowned Chinese poet Guo Xiaochuan, was taken away by local police from her home in Xiangtang Village on Dec. 5.

Guo’s detention notice has been circulating on social media. The notice states that on Dec.12, the authorities charged Guo with “using crowds to disrupt the order of public places” and she is currently detained in the Changping Detention Center. Insider sources told the publication that Guo pledged not to give up defending her rights and saving the community.

Epoch Times Photo
(L) Guo Lingmei’s detention notice from the police. (R) Photo of Guo. (Screenshots provided by The Epoch Times)

The homeowners who took part in the protests were one of the first people whose water and electricity were cut off by the authorities, a resident said. The authorities also sent many security guards to monitor the protesters.

One of the targeted protesters was Yang Yusheng, a retired professor at China University of Political Science and Law. On Dec. 14, Yang announced that he would go on a hunger strike. The news was posted on social media and has attracted a lot of attention. When his students went to visit him, they were stopped and harassed by the security guard hired by the local government to enforce the demolition, according to their social media posts.

In addition, Yang called the office of the central government to complain about the illegal actions of the local authorities and demanded the electricity and water supply to be restored immediately. Despite his efforts, the local government cut off the water supply and electricity and took out the electric box on Dec. 13.

Yang also called the offices of the Beijing mayor and secretary of the Beijing municipal CCP committee, demanding that they withdraw the armed demolition workers or “henchmen” from Xiangtang Village.

Forced Demolition Order Came From Above

According to the residents, the local officials have repeatedly told them that they did not make the decision to carry out the demolition and it was a direct order from the central government.

Some believe the reason behind the forced demolition is based on the principles of Feng shui (or Chinese geomancy), an ancient and traditional Chinese belief that studies the connection between nature and geography, and their impact on people and society.

One resident compared Xiangtang Village to the Qinling Mountain villas in Shaanxi Province.

He said, “This is not what Cai Qi [Beijing mayor] dared to decide. The central government must have ordered the demolition. It’s similar to the Qinling Mountain villas case because Xi Jinping said that there should only be mountains and rivers—they demolished everything and there was no room for negotiation.”

In 2018, Party leader Xi Jinping ordered the demolition of villas in the Qinling Mountains in Shaanxi Province, an area known as the “dragon vein.” According to Feng shui, the villas were situated in the “dragon vein” and suppressed Xi’s power. And consequently, the villas had to be torn down.

Dissident Cai Xia, a former professor at the Party School of the CCP’s Central Committee and daughter of a former senior CCP official, appealed for the residents of Xiangtang Village on social media platforms.

Cai wrote on Twitter: “It is said that some wise man who helped Emperor Xi [Xi Jinping] with Feng shui in the capital city of Beijing said that Xiangtang Village is situated in a location that suppresses Xi’s power, so those houses must be demolished. Residents are fighting desperately as they are harassed and threatened by special police and security guards … the two sides are at war and the conflict is serious. Someone has written to premier Li Keqiang and has made urgent requests to the central government and Beijing [municipal] government. It seems that the situation is getting worse. Didn’t the CCP call themselves materialistic atheists!?”

Cai emphasized, “Most of the homeowners are elderly people over 70 years old. The weather in Beijing is forecasted to drop to the lowest temperature in the next week at -8 degrees Celsius [17.6 degrees Fahrenheit]. The residents are in a desperate situation and [the CCP] is sending them to their death! What a vicious regime! Those who support the CCP’s totalitarian tyranny have lost their conscience!”

Luo Yan contributed to this report.