Courts want humane approach in demolitions

Updated: 2011-09-10 08:14

By Zheng Jinran (China Daily)

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BEIJING - Local courts should deal with demolition cases with caution, and demolition work must stop if residents involved threaten to commit suicide, top court in China said on Friday.

Back in January, the State Council released regulations instructing local governments to apply for approval from the courts before carrying out demolition work.

However, the police are sometimes misused in forced demolitions, and residents involved have been wounded or killed. A spate of suicides - including self-immolation - and confrontations due to enforced demolition also have occurred in recent years, according to the statement released on the official website of the Supreme People's Court.

The urgent notice also stated that to ensure the safety of residents, the police must use force with caution. The demolition work must stop if residents threaten suicide.

"This document could ease the sharp conflict between residents forced to be evicted and the developers and governments in some areas," said Yi Shenghua, a lawyer at Beijing Ying Ke Law Firm.

But Yi said the document may not solve the root problem. "The problem starts in the system of land transfer and requisition," he said.

Land sales accounted for a large part of the financial revenue of all levels of governments in China. In some cases, governments even cooperate with real estate developers to make money from demolition projects.

"Only when we implement an open, transparent and democratic method to conduct the land requisition and transfer deals, these incidents could be reduced significantly," Yi said.

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