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Rules on demolition

2010-11-22 16:55

It is weird that nothing has been heard about the amendments to the 2001 regulations on real estate demolition and relocation a year after the State Council started to solicit public opinions about its new proposals.

The State Council arranged for some scholars to discuss the revisions to the eight-year-old regulations, which are accused by many of granting undefined -and consequently unrestrained - license to local governments and developers to demolish and relocate urban structures in whatever way they choose.

The five scholars from Peking University, who wrote a letter to the State Council requesting amendments to the old regulations, said that some of the current regulations contradict the country's property rights law and urged that they be amended as soon as possible to make them legitimate.

Strong opposition from local governments and real estate developers had been anticipated. But the scholars never expected that the opposition would be so strong as to prevent new regulations from being implemented.

What is strange is the fact that nothing has been published about the draft version of the revised regulations, and nothing has been made public about the actions and arguments of the local governments and developers.

It is normal for the amending of such a sensitive set of regulations to meet resistance, yet, the public has the right to know how strong such resistance is and what the arguments are of the opposing parties .

The pressure must be enormous and the resistance inconceivably strong, as we have enough reason to believe that the State Council is more than willing to adjust the balance so that the social justice and fairness can be maintained.

It is more than two years since the State Council's regulations on the disclosure of government information were adopted in 2008. The information about this set of regulations is of vital importance to the interest of millions of residents. They have every reason to be informed of the progress the State Council has made in revising the regulations.

In the past year, more tragedies have occurred in the forced demolitions by developers and local governments, for example, in October, a villager was beaten to death by demolition workers in North China's Shanxi province. The amendements to the regulations are badly needed to stop such tragedies.

On this matter, which is of great concern to millions of residents, public discussions may be the best way to find a more reasonable balance, one which will protect the interests and rights of both developers and residents. Transparency is important.

Only when all parties, including ordinary residents, are well informed about what has been going on will they be able to make an informed judgment.

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