Demolitions cause most social unrest

By Yan Jie (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-06-27 08:11
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BEIJING - Demolitions caused the most social conflict and public discontent in Chinese society in 2010, according to a recent report published by a Beijing-based social research center.

Demolitions cause most social unrest
A man cries as he sits on the debris of his house, which had been demolished in Guiyang, Guizhou province, on June 6. The house was said to be an illegal construction. [Guo Yong / for China Daily]

Measuring the amount of discontent generated by various social conflicts last year, demolitions and relocations scored almost 50 percent higher than all other factors combined, said the report filed by the Research Center for Social Contradiction.

It had become a spike point among all conflicts in Chinese society, the report said.

The center operates under the Office of Letters and Calls of Beijing, which handles petitions. The report was conducted with the help of Horizon Research Group, a Beijing-based privately run polling company.

The center said the report was based on an opinion poll conducted with 412 urban and rural respondents in a Chinese city, who had been or would be relocated.

Nearly 70 percent of those polled said they had come across problems in the course of demolitions and relocations, such as problems related to compensation and forced eviction.

Demolition issues inflicted far more damage on their personal lives than other issues such as education, healthcare, housing and social security, the report revealed.

Economic loss caused by relocation compensation was the most serious effect because the compensation tended to be less than the value of demolished properties. About 36 percent of respondents said they had been given compensation plans well below market value.

About 10 percent said they had not received the full compensation promised in the demolition contracts.

A lack of information related to demolition led to many of the compensation problems, the report said.

Relocated people were likely to become disgruntled due to suffering economic losses caused by inadequate compensation.

Demolition and relocation could be fairer if people were given stronger rights to information about the process and were allowed to participate in it, the report added. They should also be allowed to demand their rights in accordance with the law through negotiation.