Enforced demolition rules

Updated: 2012-04-11 08:02

(China Daily)

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Local courts must now guarantee that enforced demolitions are legitimate and rational before giving their approval, according to new rules issued by the Supreme People's Court.

Local governments must submit materials relating to plans of enforced demolitions so that the courts can evaluate the rationality of the proposed demolitions. These materials must include the attitudes of those who will lose their homes, their financial situation, as well as the demolition's influence on social stability.

And whereas previously local people's courts only had to make sure that local governments' expropriation and compensation complied with related administrative laws and regulations, they must now also ensure the compensation is adequate for people to maintain their quality of life or continue their business operations.

The courts have the right to deny approval for a demolition and house owners can complain to the courts if they have any grievances.

The courts can also organize public hearings to monitor the demolition process. So, even after a demolition gets a nod from the court, house owners will have a chance to sue if their rights are being violated.

These rules, carefully woven in the form of a judicial interpretation to balance the interests of major parties involved in the sector, grab the bull by the horns and provide a set of well-targeted solutions to prevent abuses of house owners' rights which were not rare in past years.

Together with the related regulations and laws passed by the State Council and legislative authorities, the Supreme People's Court's new rules are another concrete step in regulating local governments' conduct when it comes to appropriating land.

However, even when local courts let administrative bodies preside and implement approved demolitions, they should not stop enhancing their role of supervision in the process.

An accountability system and on-the-spot supervision are needed so that the progress the new rules represent in protecting house owners' rights is realized.

(China Daily 04/11/2012 page8)