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Freeze extended on demolishing firms
By Li Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-07-12 08:54

Facing increasing disputes in connection with resettlement projects, Beijing will no longer approve any new demolition firms until at least the end of this year, according to the Beijing Municipal Construction Commission.

Meanwhile, 42 companies formerly authorized to demolish buildings have been shut down because they forcibly drove people from their homes or did not pass the annual performance check-up.

China's Administrative Licensing Law came into effect this month. But according to the law the government remains responsible for regulating businesses whose services directly concern security of the public and whose qualifications should be specially scrutinized.

Licensing of new demolition firms was frozen last September when the city launched a campaign to scrutinize and regulate the operation of more than 320 companies licensed to do demolition work.

According to a document issued by the commission last year, the approval of new firms would be resumed in June this year.

"But under consideration of curbing the scope of resettlement projects and strengthening the management of demolishing activities, we had to extend the freezing period by half a year," said Han Xiuying, an official of the commission.

So far, only 229 of the existing 320-plus demolition firms have passed the examination, said Han.

Comments from the firms that did not pass are unavailable.

However, an official with the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Land Resources and Housing Management, who requested anonymity, said 229 firms were still too many for the city's demolition market, where many illegal activities occur in pursuit of profit.

He said the ongoing campaign was regarded as a major move to ease the conflicts arising from the relocation of people pushed out of their homes to make way for real estate projects, and the resulting threat to social stability.

Relocation problems are a nationwide phenomenon connected with the urbanization drive.

The complaints related to demolished homes filed at the Ministry of Construction in the first half of this year are more than those in all of 2003.

Ministry statistics show that to June 22, about 18,620 people contacted the ministry to appeal for help. The total for all of last year was 18,071.

In the first quarter of this year, the number of complaints tripled the number received in the same period last year, the ministry confirmed.

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