Demolition rule update protects properties
( 2004-01-01 08:46) (China Daily by Fu Jing)
People faced with the dire problem of having their homes demolished to make way for new developments will have their compensation and relocation rights improved under a new national regulation, Ministry of Construction officials say.
As China experiences booming urban renewal, the ministry is issuing rules to better regulate the process of so-called "mandatory demolition."
The ministry said its newest regulations - to take effect on March 1 - will better regulate activities of real estate developers, demolition firms and related organizations.
According to the rules, demolition can be done on the condition that residents, who have been fully compensated, sign agreements with developers or resettlement firms.
If the residents refuse to relocate, the firms and developers have the right to forcibly demolish homes only after the government or a court has intervened and decided cases.
In such situation, the homes of so-called "snag families" can be demolished as local representatives of grass-roots organizations, the working units of residents and notary officials watch.
The new regulation includes a clause that forbids demolition firms from shutting off utilities, such as water, electricity or road access before residents have moved out. The ministry also bans any razing activities when a dispute has not yet resolved.
"We are designing a new platform where all sides in a dispute can communicate on an equal footing," said Xie Jiajin, a senior ministry official. "The regulation is the weapon residents have to protect their property."
Residents say they welcome the new rules but said more effort should be put into enforcement and supervision.
"The regulations build up a stronger legal foundation but we need to wait and see," said Liu Jun, a 60-year-old resident in the Xicheng District of Beijing. Liu's home is going to be demolished for a new shopping mall. "It would be naive for the displaced to pin their hopes on the goodwill of the developer and demolition firms."
Many conflicts have emerged in connection with resettlement projects nationwide. Insiders say that problems occur mainly because households relocated due to demolition often do not want to be moved or are not satisfied with the payment offers from the government or real estate agents, while some companies in charge of removal of the houses arbitrarily force the residents to move.
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