Experts urge passage of new demolition rule

By Wang Jingqiong (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-09-20 07:17
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Draft restricts when razing may take place

BEIJING - Experts are calling for the quick passage of a new draft land requisition regulation, after more bloodshed occurred during recent home demolitions.

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About eight months after a draft amendment to the existing Regulation on Demolishing Urban Housing was published to seek public input in January, legal experts said legislators should be more attentive to the public's requirements and answer doubts over the new draft regulation having been "strangled in the cradle".

"The new draft regulation is meant to expand the protection of the property owner's rights. The public's and the media's constant attention to the subject shows how much people care about it," said Wang Xixin, a law professor at Peking University.

"We hope the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council will be responsive to the public, instead of putting an end to the new draft regulation without any explanation."

Five Peking University law professors, including Wang, suggested the revision last year, after the death of Sichuan native Tang Fuzhen, who set herself on fire to protest the demolition of her house.

Some officials from the State Council Legislative Affairs Office hinted early this year the new regulation might be adopted in June, but no official information about the regulation has been announced since the draft regulation was made public.

Experts said the delay is due to resistance from local governments, which routinely sell land to make money.

According to experts, houses can only be demolished to serve the "public interest". Residents must be paid full compensation before they move out. Relocations can take place if and when at least 90 percent of residents agree with the compensation proposal.

The existing regulation has no such requirements. Local governments today have the authority to force relocations before compensating the owners.

"We understand local governments' opposition, as it places more stringent conditions on housing demolitions," said Jiang Ming'an, another law professor at Peking University.

"But the rights and interests of the people are the most important and we hope the State Council Legislative Affairs Office can be both prudent and efficient in implementing the new regulation."

Other experts suggested that in addition to revising the existing regulation on the demolition of urban housing, legislation on confiscating rural land should also be initiated.

"Rural land, which belongs to farmers collectively in China, should be protected more strictly," said Ma Huaide, a law professor at China University of Political Science and Law.

"Given that useable urban land is diminishing, and demolitions are happening more and more in rural areas, legislators should start to standardize the procedures of rural land requisition."