sharing the Olympic spirit

Relocated Beijingers were not 'forced out'
By Cui Xiaohuo (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-02-20 07:03


Most of the 14,901 residents that have made way for Olympic venues such as the Bird's Nest and Water Cube have resettled in nearby buildings with government aid, a senior Beijing official said Tuesday.

"No one was forced out of their homes," Zhang Jiaming, a senior official working closely with construction projects for the Games, told reporters.

Altogether, more than 6,000 families were relocated to make room for seven Olympic sites in the capital, official figures show. They included more than 4,600 families in the Wabian and Wali villages, where major Olympic venues are clustered.

Most of the villagers bought homes in residential areas close to the Fourth and Fifth Ring Roads, where properties cost about 4,000 and 6,000 yuan ($559 and $839) per square meter in 2002, when the relocation started.

"The top priority for us is to guarantee those relocated have access to affordable housing," Zhang, vice-director of the Beijing Municipal Construction Committee, said.

People living near the Bird's Nest told China Daily the government-assigned developers paid the required compensation and affected residents moved out of their homes within a month in late 2002. There were no "nail houses", or people who refused to leave, Na Heli, a former resident, said.

About 4,500 people were relocated to make room for the baseball and basketball compounds at Wukesong, and the badminton domes at a university in the southeast of the city, officials said.

Local media have reported the city will improve living conditions in more than 170 urban villages, or poor housing for migrant labors around Beijing, before the Games.

A foreign ministry spokeswoman said last year that not a single family was forced to move outside Beijing during the Olympic relocation project.

The construction of Olympic venues is in line with the master plan for Beijing and the venues will later open to the public, Zhang said.

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