Forced Relocation Causes Indignation of Thousands

May 12, 2007 12:00 am Last Updated: May 12, 2007 12:00 am

CHINA—On May 7 at about 9:00 p.m., the local communist regime in Hangzhou sent a group of workers to demolish Shen Xianlin's house in Jiangcun Village, Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province.

Nearly 2,000 farmers' livelihood had been affected. The Hanzhou City government did not notify any of the villagers before carrying out the demolition work. Currently, the project has entered into its second phase.

The owner did not receive prior information about the demolition. The workers demolished the house while the occupants were away. What Shen's family experienced is part of the relocation for the Xixi National Wetland protection project in Hangzhou City which started in 2004.

No Notice

Shen's wife complained to the reporter, “Without prior notice to the owner, they broke the locks on all doors, smashed the windows, and then moved our belongings out.” When Shen's family reported it to the police, they said it was out of their jurisdiction.

“The government does not treat us as human beings. They demolished our homes without advance notice. We cannot reason with them. The police told us 'It's not burglarizing. It's the government demolishing your house.' We do not get any compensation. They forced us to relocate without negotiating an agreement. There is no one we can complain to.”

Hundreds of Years on this Beautiful Land

Xixi is an area of about 10 square kilometers west of Hangzhou City, 5 kilometers from West Lake. The environment is good and the scenery is very beautiful. It is full of orchards, farmlands and other natural life. Local farmers were happy that they did not have to work in other places. It's enough for them to make a living just on the land. Now without land, they have nothing.

There were persimmon trees and other fruit trees for hundreds of years. Several generations took a lot of effort to grow them. Now the government expropriates the land and sells it to the real estate developers for a high price. It plunders common people's interests with government power.

In January 1999, Farmers in Jiangcun Village signed a contract with the local village committee to use the land for 30 years. According to the law, except for the State Council; no local level government can expropriate land.

However, the Hangzhou City government listed Jiangcun Village as the second phase of the demolition and relocation. In February 2004, it bought the land for the West Lake District government to use.

No due Process

In May 2004, the authorities issued 16 notices of relocation, but did not hold any formal public ratification.

According to local villagers, in the process of expropriating the land, the government did not call a village meeting, nor did they ask for villagers' opinions as required by law.

A villager named Fei said. “The government does not follow the law but the rules of the local government. It seriously violates peoples' interests. Villagers do not want to sign the relocation contracts; so they are signed by the village cadres, who are pressured by different levels of government. Under the oppression of the government, common people can only listen to it.”